Unity in the Body of Christ!

A Special Message

The Journey to 2030:

Unity in the Body of Christ!

Ephesians 4:1-16


“FBC desires to see communities thriving to the glory of God.”


FBC’s vision is a statement that expresses what we hope to see happen in and through our congregation as we accomplish our mission. Our mission is “FBC exists to transform stories through the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Today, as we prepare to vote on our new bylaws that are designed to empower you as the congregation to fulfill the vision with as little red tape as possible, I invite you to be a part of the Journey to 2030 – to live on mission by actively walking with Jesus Christ as He transforms you through His gospel.


“FBC desires to see communities thriving to the glory of God.”


Thriving is another word for human flourishing, As Christians, this is the promised abundant life or fullness of life that Jesus promised His followers in John 10:10 – “real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of” (The Message). It is the desire of the leaders of FBC to create an atmosphere/culture at FBC that facilitates your journey that experiences a transformation through the gospel of Jesus, which brings about this promise in your life. How can you bring thriving to our communities if you are not first experiencing a closer walk with Jesus Christ, the life of discipleship, for yourself.


We call you to the journey of experiencing the fullness of joy that Jesus promises each one of you, members of His one body. We understand that the Holy Spirit is the One transforming our stories as walk with Jesus; it’s a faithful journey to the destination of Christlikeness. It’s not always a straight journey, and it can be messy, but we must remain focused – eyes on Jesus!


In creating an atmosphere/culture of transformation for your journey, the leaders of FBC desire to, prayerfully (according to Acts 6:4), preach and teach clearly what it means for each of us (individually and collectively) to live as disciples of Jesus Christ so that we each can ensure we are heading in the right direction – intentionally becoming like Him in word and deed.


This will include what we provide, or partner with, for people on Sunday mornings (during Sunday school hour and in service) and Wednesday nights (youth, children, and adult programming available at the church), as well as what is available to you throughout the week in Bible studies and ministry gatherings.


The goal of such teaching is for each of us to have the mind of Christ and to know the will of God according to Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” This transformation is necessary for us to be actively engaged in the mission of God, to which Jesus calls all His followers to participate in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).


Apart from our stories being transformed through the gospel of Jesus Christ we cannot be on the Journey with Jesus. This is a personal journey of discipleship, but it is never private; it is a call to the refreshing work of the Holy Spirit through the great community, called the church. As the leaders of FBC, we desire to empower both the individual and the corporate body, according to the teaching of the Body of Christ in the New Testament (i.e. Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12; and Ephesians 4).


Let’s read Ephesians 4:1-16. I’ll make a few comments, then call you to make some commitments as members of the one body of Christ.


There are two ways the force is structured in the US Army: conventional and unconventional. The conventional force has a heavy top-down approach, where no one moves, from top to bottom, without the top first passing down the order that had to move its way down the chain of command. The assumptions of this model are not complementary to the soldiers or their ability to innovate and adapt on their own. Unfortunately, most of the Army is structured this way.


The church is not intended to look this way! We are more like the unconventional forces of the army’s special forces and special operations communities, who empower every solider as a highly trained team member who can accomplish the mission without a lot of oversight. They are given a mission to accomplish, then entrusted with team leadership, to accomplish it in their specific areas of operation, as they have been chosen, trained, and sent to do. This is how the church is called to function, not only with Jesus, our Commander, giving us the Great Commission, and entrusting every congregation in every community of every nation to spring up and get the mission done in ways that are right and true to their time and location, but this is also true of every congregation, as the pastors and leaders empower the people to get the mission done in ways that are right and true to your household, neighborhood, and workplace.


We must structure ourselves to empower you, the soldiers of Jesus who have been chosen, need to be trained, and are being sent to live your life on mission for Jesus.


  • The Church Cabinet will consist of Pastoral Staff, Elders, Deacons/Deaconesses, Moderator, and Clerk. The Church Cabinet convenes on a regular basis to assure that those in positions of congregational authority are being faithful to the mission, vision, faith statement and core values of the church.
  • The Elders provide spiritual formation and accountability to the pastoral staff of the church. They work together to create a congregational culture that prioritizes the mission and vision of First Baptist Church according to our faith statement and core values.
  • The Deacons/Deaconesses are the servants of the church, leading the work of ministry in First Baptist Church. Deacons are affirmed/appointed to their positions based upon their calling to their area of service.
  • The Moderator chairs the Church Cabinet, conducts Congregational Meetings, and works closely with the lead pastor to liaise between the congregation and staff.


All areas of ministry (and their teams) are directly accountable to a member of the cabinet. The reason we have this structure at FBC is empower you, the priesthood of all believers, to live on mission, the good fruit of your life of discipleship. In the words of Jesus, for you as a good tree to bear good fruit (Matthew 7:15-20). We want to minimize meetings and red tape, so that you can be equipped, encouraged, and empowered to live for Jesus, on mission for God!


Therefore, I call you to the following six membership commitments to ensure the unity of the body of Christ while so that we can function as God intended, sending you out as an unconventional force of elite special forces soldiers. We gather to scatter!


  1. I commit to being a loving member where I see membership as a call to godly living and relationships. I will:
    1. Uphold biblical standards in my own life and in relationship with my brothers and sisters, according to Matthew 18.
    2. Prioritize greater spiritual, emotional, physical, and relational health with God, self, family, and others.


  1. I commit to being a healthy member where I see membership as a part of God’s plan for my life (John 13:35). I will be a source of:
    1. Unity, not division, knowing that none of us, including leadership, are perfect.
    2. Mercy and grace, not gossip and dissension.


  1. I commit to being a praying member where I see prayer as my Christian responsibility to fulfill Jesus’ prayer in John 17. I will discipline my life to pray daily for the body of Christ including:
    1. Pastors and leaders
    2. Ministries & missions
    3. Families & community
    4. The worldwide church throughout all nations


  1. I commit to being a serving member where I see membership as an opportunity to visibly live a life of sacrificial service (Philippians 2:5-11). I will:
    1. Serve the church and its membership.
    2. Actively live a life of ministry and mission through the guidance and power the Holy Spirit in my day-to-day life.


  1. I commit to being a functional member where I see membership according to the Bible’s teaching (1 Corinthians 12 – 14).  I will demonstrate this in the following ways:
    1. Active participation in a discipleship group.
    2. Service in ministry.
    3. Biblical financial partnership.
    4. Witness for Christ to the community.


  1. I will be a committed member where I see membership in the body of Christ as a privilege that comes with responsibilities.  I recognize the church will only be healthy and grow when I am doing my part; therefore, I will:
    1. Learn about and use my spiritual gifts to build the body of Christ (Ephesians 4).
    2. Display the fruit of the Spirit to our community and beyond (Galatians 5:22-23).


I am going to be focusing on discipleship; providing “pathways of grace” for you to grow in godliness (Christlikeness). May your life bear the good fruit of a transformed life through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thriving is more than an understanding of what is God’s best for my life, the church, and surrounding community, it is a call to full participation in that life through our 7 big words, on the banners behind you: gather, follow, rest, belong, love, service, and go. It is seeing our four core values, posted right here on the wall to my left, come alive in you.


We all have very little space on our calendars available, just as we all have more demands on our money, so we want to invite you to choose pathways of grace that will help you thrive and that will bring thriving to our communities through your unique contributions. 


I want to conclude with a thought I read a while back, “Our lives seem too crowded – too busy, we might say, were it not that after long hours of work we let entertainment and various addictions gobble up a good portion of the remaining time – to allow us to give sustained attention to the challenge of discerning the life truly worth living…It’s not just that we don’t know how to live meaningful lives. We don’t even seem to be able to focus for very long on the question” (source unknown).


The leaders of FBC want to help you focus on the abundant life of Jesus Christ; we invite you participate in the work of Jesus Christ to bring about your transformation, but we know that can only happen through your submission to the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in your life. Jesus calls that His “easy yoke” (Matthew 11:28-30).


We invite you to join us on FBC’s Journey to 2030. To get out of the heavy yoke of the world and its definitions of thriving and to get into Jesus’ easy yoke and to walk with Him, in His way. We know it’s going to take a long time, but we are committed to the process of transformation that God will do in us and through us as we learn, step-by-step, to be about our Father’s Work in His Harvest fields.


May Jesus lead us on FBC’s Journey to 2030! To God alone be the Glory!


If you would like to watch Pastor Jerry present this message, Click HERE.


If you would like to watch the entire service including music, click HERE.