Love the Church

What does it mean for us to love the church? To intentionally look at those we gather with every week and get to know who they are, but more importantly encourage them toward a life of discipleship. Here at The Chapel, we had the opportunity to do something a few weeks ago that we’ve never done before. It was a way for us to include a group within our church that at times may feel somewhat excluded.

Every Sunday at 9am, our deaf ministry gathers in the seats directly behind the sound booth at the CrossPoint Campus. They worship together with us and engage with the sermon through interpreters using American Sign Language. We have seen God work through this ministry in incredible ways, and they have created such a strong sense of community. On May 20, we wanted do something special that helped to show our deaf brothers and sisters that they are loved and cared for. During our worship set, we sang “Great Are You Lord” by All Sons and Daughters, but did something a bit different during the chorus. We taught the congregation how to sign the words. So on this particular week, instead of a portion of our congregation worshipping through sign language, our entire congregation was able to join together as one body.

Our deaf community was overwhelmed by the love they felt from the church. Here’s the thing though – it wasn’t something that we did solely to create a powerful and moving moment — it was a way that we could show the deaf community that we love them. It also encouraged the rest of our congregation to be aware of the small ways we can love the church. Although what we did that Sunday felt like a small ask in a lot of ways, for our deaf community, there was a sense of feeling greatly valued and cared for by the people that they call their church family.

Our challenge to you in this is to look for the ways that God directs us to love the church. Often times they may seem like small things, but to those we are caring for, it could make a world of a difference. That may mean stepping out of our comfort zone, but that will happen when we follow God’s leading, because it helps us to grow and it can greatly impact the person we’re interacting with. Get to know one another, pray for those around you, intentionally look for ways that you can be an encouragement. We are called as a disciple of Jesus to love God, love the Church, and love the world.

We’re so thankful for our brothers and sisters in Christ that make up the deaf community here at The Chapel and we’ve been so excited to see how God has grown and will continue to grow that ministry. Today, June 11, is World Deaf Day of Prayer. It’s an acknowledgment of the roughly 98% of deaf individuals worldwide that have not had exposure to the gospel of Jesus. It’s a call for us to be praying for those globally, and locally here in Buffalo, to have repeated opportunities to respond to the gospel.

So, we ask today that you would seek the Lord and ask Him how you can love the Church, and not just The Chapel, but the body of Christ in our region and throughout the world. We know that the Church is not a building, but it’s a group of redeemed people. We also would ask you to join us in praying for the individuals throughout the deaf community that don’t know Jesus. Because we want to see EVERY man, woman and child have repeated opportunities to hear, see and respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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