In the previous parts of this series, we considered how the identity of each spouse, as a man or as a woman and also as a follower of Christ, is reinforced when the couple lives their sexual relationship in a manner always open to the possibility of motherhood and fatherhood. This openness to life produces a fourfold blessing for the couple:.
This growth in cooperating with God in giving love and life is designed to produce married saints. It is the way that husbands and wives fulfill a mission for Christ in the world.
In this third part of the series, I shall focus on the humble yet vital mission of fruitfulness to which Christian married couples are called by God. In his apostolic exhortation on the family, Familiaris Consortio , St. They share also in the prophetic mission of the Lord Jesus by forming an evangelizing community, helping one another personally to encounter Christ and to deepen their knowledge of Him in the Church.
As St. And whoever welcomes me welcomes, not me, but Him who sent me. If personal and social sensitivity toward the acceptance of a new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away. One that adopts a contraceptive mentality leaves as its legacy a culture of death. They may, for many years, have longed to conceive a child but been unable. They may be tempted even to despair or to take desperate measures to become pregnant or to sustain a pregnancy, which contradict the moral law. Couples in these difficult circumstances may wonder if their marriage, without children, still has meaning.
The Church strongly affirms that they can indeed have a meaningful marriage, even if God has not blessed them with children. She encourages such couples to maintain their trust in the Lord and His loving Providence, and to recall that all God asks of a married couple is that they be open to accepting children, that they place no barriers to this gift and take no measures to prevent it.
If they cooperate with God in this way, they can with good conscience know that they are sincerely doing His will. God, however, does not promise that He will grant the blessing of children to every marriage. Should it not be His will to do so, He will provide other ways for them to be fruitful. In this regard, the words of St.
Are You a Fruitful Christian?
What a great opportunity the Year of Faith will be for couples who prayerfully embrace their mission as priests, prophets and kings of love and life! May all of us give praise to God for our own faith, and ask Him to increase our fruitfulness for His Kingdom. Paul VI, in the face of enormous pressure from both outside and inside the Church, reiterated in this historic encyclical the constant teaching of the Church that every act of marital intercourse must remain open to the possibility of a new life from God.
This duty resides especially with wives and husbands, and is exercised when they carefully discern, aided by the teaching of the Church, what means are ethical and which are not when seeking to welcome a child into their marriage. At the heart of Humanae Vitae is the teaching that the marital embrace, the act of intercourse, is given by God to the human race as a great good. This good has two natural, God-given purposes: it is procreative baby-generating and unitive spouse-bonding. These two purposes, which naturally result from the marital act, can never be separated without a resulting injustice.
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A separation of the two, e. On the other side of the coin, it is also gravely wrong to seek to conceive a child by means that are separated from the marital embrace of his or her parents, as some Assisted Reproductive Technologies ART do. Some infertility interventions are legitimate, but those that bypass the marital embrace are gravely illicit. In vitro fertilization and artificial insemination are two such examples.
Tragically, when a technologically advanced civilization accepts sexual intercourse without babies, it will also ignore the moral concerns of producing babies without intercourse. Is the Church saying that Louise Brown, or the thousands of other children produced since then by such technological interventions, are somehow less than human, lacking in human dignity? Absolutely not. The suffering caused by infertility is often intense for both husband and wife.
Assemblies of God (USA) Official Web Site | Faithful in Little, Fruitful in Much
If there are no churches in the area that can minister in Spanish, then it makes rock solid sense to push your own to start building programs for them. Set the example, show some success, gradually introduce the new culture to your old church and THEN start asking for more support. If there are already 3 churches in your county that are well equipped to minister in Spanish, then it makes the most sense to call one of those pastors and send the family to him. In short…. There are many different sizes and types of Church models for a reason. Each one serves a purpose in an ever changing fabric of humanity.
God wants it that way. Churches do change every single day as the balance and makeup of the population shifts.
Stop asking old churches full of members who have already raised their kids to try to act like what they are NOT…a church full of 30 somethings raising kids. Understand your community, and use its currents to your advantage. The sad truth is that the older people controlling out of balance churches generational balance eventually will pass on, and their homes will be sold to a younger generation and in many cases even a radically different CULTURE.
At that point…. Take your time…because it took generations for them to build it all…. Instead of over-fighting it…look at the tools they have for very different, but equally important types of missions. You can drive yourself crazy trying to fight the Cycles of God…. You seem to be arguing for 1 for reasons that quite simply I disagree with vehemently and saying that the only other option is 2.
Our church is multi-generational and we have seen over two hundred people go from having nothing to do with God or church to responding to the Gospel and trusting in Christ for salvation and new life over the past 6 years For His glory, not ours. Why is this happening? Because our leadership made the decision to stop catering to comfort and challenge our people to get on board with the mission of the Church.
How to Live a Fruitful Life
Sadly, we lost quite a few people. We are called to go and make disciples. You said at the end that not every church is geared to be an evangelical power house….. Again, not certain what you mean. Every church should foundationally be about the Gospel and making that Gospel known to as many as possible in their community.
Just to play out an extreme: If every person in that community is reached which i would venture to say happens extremely rarely , then begin brainstorming other ways to reach even farther small church plant etc… , but never get off the boat of our mission.
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What do you think a church is supposed to look and act like? Because I believe a church is a community of people tied together in the Gospel on mission to make that Gospel known to any and everyone. Make changes necessary to be a part of that mission. A dying church is simply that: dying. How is that a radical change that requires board approval and strong arming changes in congregational leadership?
I still maintain that just because a church has fewer than does NOT mean it is dieing.
I know of quite a few that have NEVER had more than memebers, but have been going strong for nearly years. I can think of a pocket of about 12 of them in Texas that have put air bus hospitals in every international disaster zone with missionaries since Built dozens of home for people in need. They simply do a different kind of outreach and mission……. Some of us are NOT cut out to witness face to face, and do far more damage than good when sharing our walks with Christ with others. Some of us are much better equipped to play supporting roles.
Some of us are better at quietly providing Bibles, homes, and refuges for worship. Very long deflection and refusal to own a simple problem. I simply refuse to agree with you that a church should sit and get stagnant. This will be my last response as it seems you have dug your feet pretty deep into your defense and it is not a good use of my time to continue the conversation. Every Christian is called to be a minister and an evangelist….
The Blessing of a Fruitful Life
Not sure why you disagree with that either. I never disagreed to your PS. I just happen to believe that there are many missions and styles that contribute to that purpose. A youth group 4 from a 50 member church can pass out 4, Bibles in Guatemala and not grow a single member back home. Some churches have big programs to help the elderly and infirmed, as well as the incarcerated. The goal is to foster and create opportunities for people to know about the Word of God and come to know Christ.
Pushing a church to grow past is not really superior to doing ecumenical missions that have a very high probability of helping different churches grow by 2. What I have thought over the years is a lack of strategic planning when it comes to hiring the next person. I believe it needs to be a generalist. Someone who can work in several areas at once. Back in the day the second position would be a youth pastor. The church would grow by another 75 people, but not enough to add a third staff member and continue to grow. It couls be just that simple as well.
Yours are all noteworthy and true Carey. Just throwing in another factor in my opinion. Blessings, Dave.
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Great question. I think it often has to do with the entire community the church serves.
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