The Church as a Family



I wanted to take this morning and go a little bit of a different directions as today is our annual meeting.
I want to explore in greater detail what it means for the church to be a family.
Imagine a traveler who finds themselves in a foreign land, far away from their own family and loved ones.
They are alone, without any support or connection.
As they journey through this unfamiliar territory, they come across a community of believers gathered in a church.
Intrigued and in need of companionship, they decide to enter.
What they discover inside is not just a gathering of individuals, but a family united by a common faith in Jesus Christ.
They witness the church members caring for one another, offering support, and extending hospitality.
They see the older generation mentoring the younger, sharing their wisdom and experience.
They observe the church family celebrating together in times of joy and standing together in times of hardship.
In that moment, the traveler realizes that they have found a new family—
a family that transcends blood ties and cultural differences.
They have found a community where they are welcomed, loved, and embraced.
The traveler's experience reflects the significance of the church as a family.
We are travelers in the world.
God has placed us here for a time and for a purpose.
Just as a biological family provides love, support, and a sense of belonging,
the church family offers the same, and even more.
It is a family that is not bound by earthly relationships alone, but by the bond of faith in Christ.
It is a family that extends across boundaries, cultures, and generations—
a family that provides a place of refuge, growth, and spiritual nurture.
Through this illustration, we see how the church family becomes a vital source of comfort, encouragement, and support for those who are far from home or in need of a community.
It demonstrates the power of the church as a family to fill the void and provide a sense of belonging, even in the midst of unfamiliar surroundings.
Paul writes in Ephesians.
Ephesians 2:19–22 ESV
19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
Paul paints a picture here of the church as a family.
The household of God.
A united body of believers bound together by the redeeming work of Jesus Christ.

The nature of the church as a family.

The core of what Paul is writing about here is the truth that believers are adopted into God’s family through faith in Christ.
That is where everything begins.
We are no longer strangers or outsiders, but rather children of the living God.
This is where it all must begin.
Colossians 2:6–7 ESV
6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
As part of this church family, have you placed for trust in Jesus for salvation?
It is not just future salvation, but has an impact on your life now.
God desires to grow you now as part of a holy temple in the Lord.
Paul writes in 1 Cor in regards to fleeing temptation
1 Corinthians 6:19–20 ESV
19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Just as a biological family is united by blood, the spiritual family of God is united by the redeeming blood of Christ.
Our identity as a church family is grounded in God's work of salvation.
The metaphor of the church as a family reveals the depth of God's redemptive plan.
Just as a family is marked by shared love, responsibility, and mutual care, the church family is called to embody these characteristics.
We are interconnected members, living out our faith together.
The essence of a family lies in its unity and the care its members have for one another.
In the same way, the church family is called to be unified in purpose and love.
We are to carry each other's burdens, support one another, and rejoice in each other's joys and victories.
We are to strive to walk together in agreement, upholding biblical truth as our foundation.

The foundation of the church family.

Our foundation must be found in three things.
Christ, scripture, and the Holy Spirit.
Jesus is the head, the cornerstone of our church family.
Ephesians 2:20 ESV
20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,
He is the unifying force, the one who gives common identity and purpose.
As the head of the family, He guides and directs us.
It is through Him that we find true unity and experience the depth of familial love.
We submit to His authority and seek to align our lives and ministries with His will,
acknowledging that He alone holds the ultimate authority over the church.
James 4:7 ESV
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Scripture, the Word of God also must hold a central place.
It serves as the ultimate authority for the beliefs, practices, and relationships within the church family.
It guides us in our understanding of God's will and reveals the principles by which we are to live as a family.
What are you allowing to guide you and your beliefs?
The culture around you?
Or the word of God?
The culture around us changes quickly, what was right not long ago is now wrong.
What was unthinkable before is now being praised.
The only constant in our lives is the word of God.
The Holy Spirit also plays a crucial role in forming and maintaining the church family.
It is through the Spirit's work that believers are united, gifted, and empowered to live as a family.
The Spirit transforms our hearts, enabling us to love one another genuinely and selflessly.
The Spirit also convicts us of sin, regenerates our hearts, and empowers us to live obediently.
It is through the Spirit's guidance and illumination that we understand and apply God's Word.
We depend on the Spirit's presence to foster unity, holiness, and spiritual growth within the church family.

Characteristics of a church family.

There are a number of Characteristics that a church family must have.
Love and acceptance, mutual care and support, as well as discipleship and growth.
The church family is called to exhibit an unconditional love that mirrors God's love for us.
When we think about how much God has loved us.
Romans 5:8 ESV
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:10 ESV
10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
As a church family, this is the love we are to exhibit with one another.
Not holding on to past grudges and hurts.
But forgiving each other as we have been forgiven.
We are to accept one another as Christ has accepted us.
This love transcends differences and extends grace and forgiveness to all.
It is a love that seeks the best for one another, even at personal cost.
Most often that cost is our own pride.
We extend grace and acceptance to one another, recognizing that our salvation is solely by God's grace.
As a family, we strive to love unconditionally, knowing that we have been first loved by Christ.
In the church family, we are also called to bear one another's burdens, to support and encourage one another.
Galatians 6:2 ESV
2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
We are to walk alongside each other through the joys and sorrows of life.
As a family, are we providing a safe space where vulnerability is welcomed, and genuine care is expressed through practical acts of love?
Because that is what we are called to do.
Every member has a role to play as a part of the church family.
This mutual care reflects Christ's love for the church and testifies to His work in our lives.
The church family serves as well, as a nurturing environment for spiritual growth.
We are called to teach and exhort one another, encouraging each other in our faith journey.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV
11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
Paul continues
1 Thessalonians 5:12–21 ESV
12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good.
As a family, we bear the responsibility of fostering spiritual maturity and equipping one another for the work of ministry.
To nurture that environment, we must prioritize the teaching and preaching of God's Word both individually and in gathering together.
God’s word is the means by which believers are equipped for every good work.
As a church family, we must be committed to nurturing one another, helping each member grow in their understanding of the Gospel and their obedience to Christ.
Each of us has insights to offer that another may not see.
Each of us has experiences that we bring to the table that help us to better understand God’s word.

Responsibilities within the church family.

As with any family, there are responsibilities.
In the church family, each member has a unique role to play.
We are called to serve one another with humility and selflessness, following the example of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Through our acts of service, we demonstrate love and build up the family.
We must recognize that Christ came not to be served but to serve, and we follow His example by using our gifts and talents to build up the church family.
What gifts, what talents do you have to offer that you are not currently utilizing?
As a church family, we must strive to serve selflessly, seeking the good of others above our own interests.
As a family, we are also accountable to one another.
Part of that is holding each other to the standards set forth by God's Word.
This accountability is rooted in love and seeks the restoration and growth of the individual and the family as a whole.
At times there may be for the need of discipline.
Thankfully Jesus gives instruction on how we are to do that as well.
Matthew 18:15-20 describes the process.
But any discipline is to be rooted in love, to safeguard the purity of the church and promote spiritual growth.
Discipline is exercised with a desire for restoration and the preservation of the church's witness in the world.
Discipline is exercised with grace and the aim of any discipline is ultimately reconciliation.
But that still doesn’t mean that it is easy.

Challenges and opportunities in the church family.

As with any family there is bound to be challenges.
Challenges that don’t require discipline.
Despite our shared faith, conflicts can arise within the church family.
However, as followers of Christ, we are called to pursue peace, unity, and reconciliation.
Any conflicts that arise, we must address with grace, humility,
We must have a desire for restoration of relationship, remembering that our unity is a witness to the world.
As a church family, we also have a unique opportunity to extend our care beyond our walls as well.
We believe in the Great Commission and actively engage in evangelism, desiring to see others brought into the family of God.
Through hospitality, we create a welcoming environment where outsiders can experience the love of Christ in our midst.
The mission of the church to make disciples of all nations.
We recognize that our family identity is not confined to our local congregation but extends to the global church.
The great commission is to go and make disciples of all nations!
We seek to fulfill our mission, bringing glory to God through our collective witness and obedience to the Great Commission.
Together, we are called to live out the teachings of Christ, demonstrating His love and grace to a broken world.
Our collective witness as a family has the power to impact lives and transform communities.


The church is more than a mere organization or social gathering.
It is a family—a family founded on the redeeming work of Christ, united by a shared faith and commitment to God's Word.
As we embrace our identity as a family, let us remain grounded in the authority of Scripture, submitted to the lordship of Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
May we display love, acceptance, and mutual care within our church family, reflecting the character of our Heavenly Father.
As we do so, we will be a beacon of hope and a testimony to the transforming power of God's love.
May we be a light in the world, proclaiming the Gospel and making disciples for the glory of God alone.
May our church family flourish and grow, to the glory of God.
As an act of solidarity joining us together, I want to celebrate the Lord’s supper together.
As we do so I also want for us to continue what we begin here, in this symbolic meal into our fellowship meal that we will share after church.
While communion has often been thought of as an individualistic thing, getting right with God.
It is primarily meant as a family meal.
To be eaten together with the family if Christ.
Jesus instituted the Lord’s supper with his family.
The men that he had called to follow him.
In celebrating the Lord’s supper, it is an act that reminds us of what Christ has done for us.
It is also an act that binds us together as a family believers, sharing of the one cup and the one bread.
In Luke 22 we see Jesus instructing Peter and John to go and prepare the passover that they might eat together.
Luke 22:14–16 ESV
14 And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
Look around you for a moment as Jesus and the disciples did in that room.
Look around you at the family that is here.
Do we earnestly desire this fellowship?
As Jesus did with His disciples?
As believers, we are representatives of the kingdom of God, and we await the return of our King.
Jesus passed the cup with instruction to divide it amongst themselves.
Luke 22:17–18 ESV
17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
Luke 22:19 ESV
19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Luke 22:20 ESV
20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
Let us continue from here into our meal that we will share together.
Remembering that our gathering, the fellowship we share, proclaims Christ coming.
That we gather in remembrance of Him, and look forward to His triumphant return.
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