ALTAR CALL: The church is not a club, says cleric
THE CHURCH IS NOT a club, but was established on the blood of Jesus Christ. As such, its purposes are to offer healing and wholeness, deliverance to the oppressed and possessed, and to declare the good news of mankind being put right with God through the blood of Jesus.
This was part of the declaration last week by Reverend Dr Cuthbert Edwards as he addressed the congregation at James Street Methodist Church, The City.
He described the church as a place of healing, noting that the ministry of Jesus was one of preaching, teaching, healing and deliverance.
“Consequently, lives were changed as a result of the proclamation of the Good News. The faith of many was strengthened by His teachings, and persons received deliverance from oppressive situations such as demon possession, illnesses and curses.”
Edwards was speaking to a congregation that included management and staff (below) of DWISE Inc., operators of Dollarwise stores, who celebrated the official start of their tenth anniversary celebrations.
The service almost marked the rededication of the church hall and facilities to further the cause of the church’s outreach programmes.
Edwards said wherever Jesus went, the sick were brought before Him that they might touch even the fringe of His cloak and be healed.
“The Scriptures are replete with the healing miracles of Jesus. Mark’s Gospel begins with the healing of Simon Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever. This was followed by the curing of many sick persons of their various diseases. And wherever Jesus went the crowds followed Him and many were healed.”
Taking his main text from Mark 6:56, Edwards said that even as Jesus ministered to and delivered many from their illness, this important dimension was now the duty of the church to carry on.
“The church is left to carry on the mission and ministry of Jesus not just of preaching, teaching and caring, but also of healing, compassion and mercy. The church is therefore a place of healing. At the very beginning of Jesus’ Galilean ministry He states, ‘He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind’.
“There is a great need for healing in a world and society that is filled with brokenness and broken lives.”
The cleric added that many people today were carrying emotional scars from broken marriages, relationships and friendships and they too needed release and healing.
“There are others who are crippled by the spirit of unforgiveness and bitterness; have refused to be reconciled to the individual(s) and are being torn apart inside. [They] need freedom and healing.
“There are others who may have been the victims of rape, sexual or psychological abuse and feel unworthy or have a sense of emptiness and need healing. Or it may have been a case of an abortion or some other experience for which the guilt has not been removed. Such healing will come about through counselling, prayer, study and the touch of the Master.”
He urged the congregation to exercise compassion, allow the Holy Spirit to stir up the gifts in them and recognise that among the spiritual gifts listed by the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 12:9 was the gift of healing.
The veteran preacher said for the church to be a place of healing, health professionals could perhaps give of their time to offer basic health service in addition to what the church was already doing. He added that the introduction of a counselling programme, bereavement group, a forum to educate persons, a weekly healing service, a 24-hour prayer line or prayer sessions where persons could receive prayer, might also have to be established.
Edwards called on those present to get involved in the church’s ministry centre by offering their time and gifts.
To have your church featured in Altar Call, please email firstname.lastname@example.org