What It Means to Be Church “I have called you friends,” Jesus told His disciples (John 15:15). Tha ’s such a high compliment. And the same can be said of us when we join Christ’s body, the church. We’re no longer servants; we’re friends. Jesus’ ministry captured what it means to be friends with Jesus. He told Zacchaeus, “I must stay at your house” (Luke 19:5). He asked the woman at Jacob’s well “Give Me a drink” (John 4:7). He told the thief on the cross, “You will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). Now that we’re friends with Jesus, it’s our responsibility to invite others to join this fellowship. Friends care for each other; they look out for each other; they believe the best about each other. No other human institution can match the companionship found in the church. As we live for Christ, our friendship with Him will be refl cted in our friendships with each other. In this section we remember that with great privilege comes great responsibility.—Editors.
Snowbirds Seeking warmth when it’s winter BY A. ALLAN MARTIN
ost of my childhood was spent in Florida, United States, which is known as the Sunshine State. As a kid I was always amazed that during the height of winter, when we locals would be layered and bundled, visitors would be in shorts and fli flops some even enjoying the beach or swimming in a pool. In January! But it’s 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) outside! Brrrrr! These people ofte came from the northern United States, where it was bitterly cold; and many had come south to escape the frigid temperatures and harsh conditions. I heard some of those folk called “snowbirds,” because they “migrate” to places of warmth and sunshine. Leave the cold, go where it’s warm. Smart move, snowbirds! Smart move.
WHAT’S THE CLIMATE IN YOUR CHURCH?
Those ords, “escaping the cold,” brought to my mind life today in the church, and how sometimes our faith communities can be downright nose-numbing chilly. Recently I posted a comment on social media that received considerable reaction online: “What I love about that church is they are so cold and condescending,” said no one ever. The depa ture of young people, as well as people of all ages, from relationally cold churches has been well documented in research.1 It seems like common sense for warm-
Adventist World English Edition - May 2019