Chapter Two: A quick definition
Vibrant families of Jesus. What do I mean by this? I’ll give you a quick definition here. But, it will take the rest of The Why Book to add color and depth to this phrase.
- Families. What I have come to understand is that there was a much closer connection between families/households and church in the New Testament than I ever imagined. Certainly more than I had experienced during my years in the church. And, I’ve come to understand that this connection has huge implications. We will explore this in much greater detail later but for now consider this remarkable statement by one New Testament scholar. Is this what typical churches look like in your experience today? If they don’t, should they?
“…households thus constituted (in the New Testament and for several centuries following) the focus, locus and nucleus of the ministry and mission of the Christian movement.”
- Families of Jesus. For years, while I pastored institutional churches, I would greet people in the Sunday Service with this statement. “I want to welcome you to our church service today. We believe there is One more present than we can see or count. That person is Jesus. He said that He would be present when we meet in His name. We want Him to be the honored guest today. We desire that everything we do this morning would be pleasing to Him. “
Sounds good, doesn’t it? I thought it was a pretty cool greeting. Then, one day it dawned on me that Jesus had no interest in being “the honored guest” who sits passively watching all that we do. He wants to be the Master of Ceremonies. To bring the agenda. To run the meeting. It’s His church and He is the Head of it. So, a “family of Jesus” simply means Jesus is the head or leader of that family.
But, what exactly does this mean in practice? Of course, we always said that Jesus was the Head of the church but what if He really is? But, what if He really is in practice, not just in theory?
- Vibrant families of Jesus. The word “vibrant” means “pulsing with life.” This life is not to be confused with what Eugene Peterson calls “the ecstasy of crowds” whether at a football game or a church service. It’s not the same as the inspiration that comes from an eloquent preacher or exuberant singing.
Rather, a vibrant family of Jesus is “pulsing” with the abundant life that Jesus promised. This is the life that flows from the Vine to the branches. It occurs in a family/group that has learned to listen to Jesus as their Leader. It is, in fact, the very life of Jesus in their midst.
In the rest of The Why Book, I’ll share with you the journey the Lord has had me on to lead me to a full picture of a vibrant family of Jesus. To put the puzzle together.
Questions to talk over with the Lord and other friends: What would it look like if Jesus was truly the Head of the church including specific meetings of the church that you are part of? What does the “life of Jesus” look like in a spiritual family? Is that what you are currently experiencing?
 John H. Elliot, A Home for the Homeless: A Sociological Exegesis of 1 Peter, Its Situation and Strategy, 188.
 Matthew 18:20.
 John 10:10
 John 15:1-8.