Pastor J.R. Pittman sees something lacking in the body of Christ today.
“We seem to have a bad theology of the local church,” he told members of the Kuyper community gathered in the Vos Chapel on October 24 for a twice-weekly service.
The founder and lead pastor of Ignite Fellowship Church said that contrary to examples found in Scripture, many Christians treat church as a place to be entertained rather than to be spiritually formed.
“A lot of people come with their hands out, and that can be a big problem,” he added.
He then pointed to Jesus’ relationship with His disciples as a better model for good spiritual community.
He reminded his listeners that all need that same kind of consistent spiritual formation in their own lives, and that it can only be found by living life alongside other believers in the local church.
But Pittman also acknowledged that this is no easy task.
“I like to say that washing people’s feet is easy, it’s being in their lives that’s hard,” he said with a chuckle.
While such one-time gestures of service are important, he emphasized, relationships within the local church should go much deeper. Just as Jesus did more for His disciples than simply wash their feet, Christians should also be willing to do the hard work of serving each other over time.
And, Pittman added, serving the wider world effectively cannot happen without first learning to serve within the local church.
“That’s where service needs to start,” he said.
When we enter into such a spiritual community with a servant’s mindset, Pittman told the audience, we create the conditions necessary for radical change to happen in the world. While it is ultimately God who makes this happen, we also need to do our part by acting accordingly with the examples we find in Scripture.
“If you get in a good local church and start exercising your gifts to love one another, change will happen,” he said.