What do I mean by the word "church"?

Tags: Canada
Reflecting on 2013 in Pictures

One of my regular annual practices is to sit with a cup of coffee and slowly page through “The Year in Pictures” on the New York Times website. I am grateful for talented photographers who capture our world’s stories and then present them powerfully for our remembrance and reflection. As I click through the photos for 2013, some key words stand out to me:

Anger. Violence. Storms. Poverty. Education. Hope.

It’s not pleasant to be reminded of humanity’s brokenness, and that my comfortable life here in Canada is not “normal” for this world. It’s also important to be reminded that I share responsibility for what the world has become (both good and bad), and that I have a part to play in the path forward.

A Definition of  "Church"

As a follower of Christ, all this leads me to consider the potential of the church. By “church” I do not mean buildings with pointed roofs with stained glass and steeples.

By “church” I mean local assemblies of real people who love God, and are rooted in biblical truth while caring generously for those in need.

When this is our working definition, I agree with Bill Hybels: “The potential of the local church is almost more than I can grasp. No other organization on Earth is like the church. Nothing even comes close.” I’ve committed this season of my life to a church planting organization. At our core, SEND is committed to see the incredible potential of local churches expand into cities and towns and neighbourhoods and individual lives. To see this vision advanced is why SEND Canada exists.  (Quote from Bill Hybels, Courageous Leadership, 2002, p. 23)

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Rob “Mags” Magwood is the Canadian Director of SEND International. Together with his wife, Kathleen, and their kids he has served as a teacher and church-planter in Ukraine and Russia. Rob is the host of the Global Missions Podcast.

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