A Family of Churches

7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. 8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high, he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”  9 (In saying, “he ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.  (Ephesians 4:7-16)
At our online services this week, we are celebrating New Ground Sunday. God places each local church into a family of churches. It isn’t good for any local church to be alone. Everyday Church is part of the New Ground family which, in turn, is part of a larger global family of churches called Newfrontiers. So why is this word ‘family’ so important?

First, it reflects the fact that God is our Father, who is birthing churches right across the world. We are his sons and daughters and we share the same spiritual DNA as one another. New Ground is not an organisation with a headquarters which imposes ministries into the local church. It is a network of churches who love to be together and who see the value in connecting with likeminded churches beyond their own local church setting.

Second, it reflects the church atmosphere that we discover in the New Testament, where the church was characterised by warmth, affection and informality. Today’s church should be no different.

Third, it reflects the fact that we are genuinely enthusiastic about welcoming outside input into our church life. The leadership that New Ground brings to us is not imposed from above, but joyfully received. Churches in the New Testament were served by what we would now refer to as ‘Ephesians 4 ministries’. When Jesus ascended back to heaven, he gave apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastor-teachers to his Church as a gift s. These were ordinary people who had received grace (v7) and gifts (v7-11) to equip (v12) members of many local churches to fulfil their calling. They did this through a family relationship. Ephesians 4 ministries are not ‘superpastors’ who visit churches to entertain them. They are leaders who shape churches by inputting their own gifting. Churches that are served by an apostle become apostolic. Churches that are served by a prophet or evangelist become more prophetic or evangelistic. Jesus continues to gift his church with these leaders today and New Ground seeks to provide and multiply these Ephesians 4 ministries to equip the local church to fulfil its calling. We are not called to go it alone, as individuals or as churches. It is a huge blessing for Everyday Church be part of this wider family of churches.
1)  Do you see the importance of Everyday Church being part of a wider church family? Why is it so vital that we allow other leaders from outside our church to input into our church life together?

2) Churches in the New Testament were served by ‘Ephesians 4 ministries’, so why should today’s church be any different? Looking at the fruit of these ministries in Ephesians 4:11-16, how can these gifts really help us?

3) How can we truly welcome these gifts, as Everyday Church? Covid-19 cannot stop Jesus building his church, in his way through these ministries, so how can we connect better and better with our New Ground family?
Father God, I thank you so much for placing me in Everyday Church and that it is part of a wider family of churches. Please help us to receive and respond to the ‘Ephesians 4 ministries’ that you gift to us, so that we can fulfil our calling as Everyday Church, both locally and globally. Amen.
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.
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