BODY IMAGE by Martie Penick

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I have a head and a body. My head can only do so much to keep my body healthy. I can direct my body to eat good foods, exercise, sleep enough, work and recreate. But there are critical things my body does that I have no conscious control over. It breathes, pumps blood, digests food, and fights infections. Sometimes it refuses to do what I want it to do, or does things differently than I would like. Being still generally young and healthy, this has usually occurred with injury or illness. But those with more years than I have shown me how our bodies begin to fail, no longer obeying the commands of the head, no longer functioning the way they were intended to function. 

The Church has a head and a body. Jesus is the head, we are the body. Jesus can direct us to do what needs to be done in order to be healthy and productive, and we can function the way He intends - or not. (Can you imagine if every cell in your body had its own will? What chaos!) 

The body of the church does not consist only of its pastors or staff. They are simply members of the body with certain functions just like the rest. The church is all of us. We, together, are the body of Christ working in the world. Each of us is important to the body, each of us has a role to play; a job to do. (This is all laid out in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12). 

When my husband and I took the membership class several years ago someone pointed out that the church would be different now because we were becoming part of it. The church changes when who participates changes. As members, we have made a commitment to the life of this particular local church. A big part of the responsibility for its health rests on us. If we come to church only to be served, who will do the serving? If we come to church only to serve, how will we be fed and renewed? Health is achieved through both work and rest. Neglect either and the body suffers. 

This value of balance is reflected in Summit Church’s Strategy for achieving our Mission. Our Mission is to make disciples who know Christ personally, who are growing in their relationship with the Lord, and who are trained to share Him with others (based on Matthew 28:19-20). All of our ministries exist to accomplish the goal of making committed, lifelong followers of Jesus who become more like Him each day. Our Strategy - Connecting to a Small Group, Practicing the 5 Habits, and Reaching our 8-15 - has aspects of both being fed and reaching out. 

When individual members are healthy and working together, the body is healthy and productive. Some parts bring nutrients and get rid of waste, others fight infection. The parts work together to make sure the individual components are getting what they need to be healthy and function. The same is true in the church. We need each other in order to connect, grow, and be trained. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” 

Because God loves us He gave Himself so our lives would change (John 3:16). Because we love God we love each other as He has asked us to do, and we give ourselves in service to each other (1 John 4:7-21, Galatians 5:13-14). 

Here are some resources to get you started:

The Summit Church