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In Praise of Christian Rap and Fellowship Groups

By Pastor Tim

I will warn you now this is going to surprise some of you. If you wish to retain a perception of your pastor as a very handsome, somewhat tall, very intelligent, hymn-loving preacher, then you might not want to read any further. If you are still reading, then don’t say I didn’t warn you. I am, in fact, a hymn-loving preacher (the other characteristics are admittedly quite debatable), but some of you might be surprised to know that one of my favorite songs is actually rap. Yes, rap. The kind of music where you talk rhythmically to the beat. For some, it is questionable that you could rightly call rap music. In general, rap has a well-deserved bad reputation. But the rap that I like is a very different kind of rap then normal rap; it is theologically Reformed Christian rap. You might not know that such a beast existed, but it does. And one of my favorite rap songs is “Expositional Preaching” by Shai Linne. It is a song that was inspired by Mark Dever’s 9 Marks of a Healthy Church. I wish newsletters had soundtracks because I would love to include a link for you all to listen to it. I am sure you would love it. Here is my favorite line:

So let me ask a question: What’s most essential, what is it that gives a local church its potential?
Some would say, ‘Music’, some would say, ‘Deacons’
Other say, ‘Reaching the lost and soul seeking’
But if we wanna give God the glory in our meetin’s
The most important thing is: Expository Preaching!

I believe in those lyrics whole-heartedly. They really define the philosophy of ministry of our church. The foundation of any church must be a faithful ministry of the Word. It is the rudder that steers the ship; the flag that identifies our citizenship. However, and this is a big however, as important and essential as preaching is to the local church, it is not the only thing that is important. Church is much more than just listening to a sermon. Acts 2:42 lays out four pillars of the early church’s priorities:

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers

Fellowship – or in Greek, koinonia – was a vital part of the Christian experience. A lexicon defines koinonia asassociation, communion, fellowship, close relationship.” The idea of community or close association with each other was, in fact, a common feature of each pillar. The early church was devoted to the apostles’ teaching together. The concept of listening to a message at home on the Internet would have been completely foreign to them. Likewise, the Lord’s Supper (the breaking of bread) and the prayers were also celebrated in togetherness.

The primary purpose of our small group ministry is to foster close relationships, or koinonia, in the body of Christ. These groups meet in homes throughout the city. Belonging to a small group is not the only way to foster fellowship, but it is an important way.

If you have been attending for a while, but still haven’t landed in a small group, contact Jason Dawson and he will be happy to help you in any way that he can.

In 1822, the English Nonconformist minister John Angell James wrote, “The identifying law of Christ’s kingdom is to love one another; and in order that this love may be more perfect in its exercise, we are united in visible communion.” As Christians, the indwelling Spirit of God is the invisible bond that unites us together. Small group fellowship is one way to make the invisible communion visible.

Dr. Timothy Juhnke is the Senior Pastor at Faith Community Church

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