We the Church
Updated: Aug 28, 2020
How leaning into your local church can change your life.
Written by William Dmytrow
I started attending Ebenezer Baptist Church in Saskatoon, SK for around three years after accepting Christ at the age of thirteen. It has been an enjoyable experience, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to share more about how God has worked in the church in my life.
Ebenezer Baptist Church is a friendly growing church of approximately 1000 congregants, and I am happy to call Ebenezer my home church.
My view of the church was formed when our Lead Pastor, Leyton Erickson, preached through a series called ‘We the Church.’ One quote, in particular, left a lasting impact on me; “Today, in the church, we have more people coming less often, expecting more and willing to do less.” If true, and I think it is, that’s quite an indictment on the current state of the church in Canada.
The church is the body of Christ. Like our physical bodies, it is made up of many diverse parts, all functioning together in unity under the headship of Jesus Christ. The church is at its best when each individual uses the gifts that God has given them for the whole body. I am convinced that using your gifts and serving alongside others is not just a matter of choice. But fundamental if you want to have a meaningful and engaging church experience.
Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians, “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him, the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Ephesians 4:15-16 CSB). Paul is telling us that we are all part of the body of Christ, and ‘We The Church’. We are the ligaments of the church body needed and necessary for the body to function properly and effectively.
I am blessed that my experience with Ebenezer has been life-changing. Not only did I make the decision to attend the youth group and become actively involved, but, almost immediately, I found myself attending the weekend service. Through these simple steps, my new church soon felt like home, and the people there felt like family. I have developed authentic friendships and began to bring my friends out to the youth group. In no time, we became a tight-knit community who actively sought-after God.
These relationships continued to grow, and it wasn’t long before I was given an opportunity to lead a bible study. The body of Christ was functioning in our youth group. I still stay very close to many of the people in this youth group, and it is beautiful to now grow with them as young adults in our faith journey
Another thing hugely impacted me, and my youth group experience was my youth pastor Joel Povey. He discipled and mentored me while I was in the youth group and has continued to do so now that I am in college. To be discipled and mentored by someone who genuinely cares for me and other students has been transformational.
I continue to look for ways to get involved in my church beyond attending every weekend. Most recently, I used my gifts, skills and passions to help design a new website for the church. I have also invested back into the youth by becoming a youth leader.
Making a commitment to follow Jesus and plug into my local church has helped me fall in love with my church and see its value. We the church, and we all play roles in building up one another.
I have personally seen that people are scared to volunteer at a church. My question is, why? Because we don’t have time? Because we are afraid to fail? Because we aren’t good enough for God? I have thought this way at times, and I know of many others who have as well. The enemy doesn’t want us to build the body of Christ, but God does. God wants us to passionately use the unique gifts he has given us so that the family of God will grow, and the body of Christ will be built up.
I’m convinced somebody’s church experience will improve significantly when you serve the body as we are called to do. For me, this was as simple as regularly attending a weekend service, actively finding ways to get involved, loving others and growing in a community of fellowship with other believers.
I am grateful to have had an overall excellent experience with church. Still, I recognize this isn’t the case for all of us. And we have to all be aware as the church to see other’s spiritual needs and different walks of life. Let’s all do our part so that we might grow closer to God and to each other.
William is a third year currently studying his BA in Christian Ministry at Briercrest College. He is also a writer and a speaker, and is most passionate about making the gospel relevant in everyone’s lives.