A book that I read a while back really helped shape my view of church as family. That book is, "Messy Church: A Multigenerational Mission for God's Family" by Ross Parsley. Here is what he says in the opening pages:
The family analogy is the best picture of what a healthy and vibrant church community is supposed to look like. If you think about it, families are perfectly designed for discipleship: constant access, consistent modeling, demonstration, teaching and training, conflict management and resolution, failure, follow-up and feedback. And this should all happen in an attitude and atmosphere of love. Children are raised, parents are matured, and grandparents are valued all at the same time.
I absolutely love this picture of the church! Church is supposed to be a safe place to learn and grow. A place where we can spectacularly fail and have people there to encourage us as we pick up the pieces. A place characterized by love! A place where you are "loving people to life".
This picture of family is unachievable without every generation playing there role. If you think about it, a family with only grandparents is dying, a family with only parents is lonely, and a family with only kids is in trouble because there is no one to guide them along the journey. Church is no different! We need every generation to play their part. That is when the church is at it's best. When everyone sees that they have a part to play and looks out for the other family members, making it a safe place to learn and grow.
What role do I have in this family? Am I helping to create a safe environment for learning to happen? How can I truly participate in this family?
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. - Philippians 2:4
Lord thank you for this family called the Church. Help me to be a loving and contributing member of this family, willing to look out for the needs of my family before my own.