I love building things, but I hate following instructions. So, I often end up with extra pieces … or find I’ve skipped a step, so I have to take half the thing apart and rebuild it … or the “completed” project just does not work. I end up having to look at the directions anyway to see where I went wrong. It was like that when the Israelites were building the Tabernacle and it’s like that today when God is using us to build our families, our small groups, or his church. He told Moses,

“They must follow exactly all the instructions I have given you.”
– Exodus 31:11

It was not enough that God called and gifted specific people to build his Tabernacle, they were to do it exactly the way he had instructed them. It’s the same today. He calls us and He gifts us to carry out His instructions for His church.

God did not provide detailed instructions in the New Testament for building his church as he did for the construction of the Tabernacle or Temple in the Old Testament. Or maybe he has, but the instructions are different.

The New Testament church is about relationships, not structures. God now resides in the hearts of his people, not in buildings. God now provides grace-based guidelines rather than legalistic regulations. Therefore his instructions today are relational in nature. They are about how to be in relationship with him and one another.

Yes, we still need to follow God’s instructions, and when we don’t, his church does not work very well. There are “extra pieces” that don’t seem to fit. We have to constantly go back and try to fix things that are not working. Or the church just does not seem to work at all. So we finally go back and see what the instructions say:

  • Love one another
  • Carry each others’ burdens
  • Serve one another
  • Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another
  • Honor one another above yourselves
  • Submit to one another
  • Teach and admonish one another
  • Bear with one another
  • Encourage one another

Imagine if we followed exactly these instructions the Lord has given us!

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Michael Mack has led Small Group Leadership full-time since 2012, but has been involved in small group ministry for more than 25 years.

He lives in Pewee Valley, Kentucky (just outside Louisville), with his wife Heidi. Their family small group, which includes their four young adult children, has much potential (and much anticipation) for future growth and multiplication. Michael enjoys mountain and road biking with a group of great friends who participate together in various charity rides.

See the “About Michael Mack” page under About Us for more about him.

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