Posted by Brenton Brown on 6 May 2016

Galatians 6:4-5, Philippians 2:1-4, Proverbs 22:4, Romans 12

I know that just looks like a long list of verses to click on, but when you’ve read them what follows will make sense...

The upside of the media revolution is the accessibility we have to what is happening across the globe. With a click of a button we can listen to Louie Giglio preaching in Atlanta, watch Joel Houston and United playing in Sydney and listen to Matt Redman leading worship in England. And we can do this all while we watch Bear Grylls survive another harrowing gastric experience, and maybe while listening to Pete Greig lead us in a 24/7 prayer devotional. For the first time in history we can access and see the different kinds of ministry God is leading His church in across the globe. We have virtually unlimited access to the different streams and flavours of ministry. There is almost no Western church we can't access or learn from.

But there is a downside. While it can sometimes be extremely inspiring and educational to see the work God is doing through His church across the globe, we can also fall into the trap of thinking that all the action, the real action, is happening in another town, another country, another continent. We can look at our own churches with all the challenges that are so obvious to us, and assume that we and our communities are somehow less than all we see on youtube and the worship dvds available to us. We wonder perhaps that if we only had better lighting, or a video and editing team, or Brooke Fraser, or Louie Giglio then perhaps we'd get to see some real results... results worthy of being documented and broadcast to the rest of the church and world. 

But then we read these words from our God, words that lift the burden of competition and the heavy yoke of comparison, and place on us instead the much lighter burden of Jesus' call on each of our lives:

'Let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't (Romans 12 - the MSG). 

What Jesus is doing in you and through your church is not exactly the same as what He is doing in other churches. There is a uniqueness and variety in God's methods that defies our desire to be like everyone else. God's gifting and blessings on you and your church are given with your particular community in mind. And it should not look exactly like other communities. God, the God who sees and apprehends every nuance of our lives, is working in you and your church in a way that takes full account of the obvious and subtle variations of your neighbourhood. And the most authentic version of church we can be acknowledges this completely! 

So while we can draw encouragement and strength from the wonderful things God is doing across the world we don't need to enviously compare ourselves to them. We can rejoice in what God is doing elsewhere, acknowledging how well other churches and saints are serving the Lord - as well as rejoicing in what God is doing in our own home towns. We can be settled and confident in the fact that the broadcast that really matters is not the one that other churches get to see, but the one that our Lord and His cloud of witnesses views every time we meet together. He is paying attention to us, equipping us and working in us for His specific purposes.

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