Around 15 years ago, a wise friend of mine sat with the leadership team of the church we were in at the time. He had come to help us take next steps as a a fairly young church, and was listening and observing before he gave counsel.His name was Ray Oliver.
Ray was never quick to speak. But when he did, it was always incisive. This time he simply said, "There are 4 main pictures of the Church in the book of Ephesians. Body, Family, Bride and Army. From listening and observing, it seems to me that this church is a great Family and Bride. But God wants to make you into a strong Body and Army too.
What did he mean? What he meant, was that we had very close relationships as a community, and we were also a worshipping community with a strong sense of God's presence with us. However, we were not as good at serving one another as a Body, or at being on Gospel mission together as an Army.
We responded to Ray's challenge as leaders, repenting and asking for God's help to lead this Family/Bride to be a Body/Army. During this season I wrote a worship song, which became something of a war cry for our church. "Great King, your Bride is an Army.." A comical picture perhaps, but it became an anthem for a season.
When I went to Brazil a few years later, someone had heard the song, translated it into Portuguese and recorded it, selling thousands of records. On getting hold of a copy, I asked my Brazilian friend to listen to the song and translate it back into English for me. After listening, his puzzled reply was, "The first line says, 'Great King your fiance' is a platoon!'"
Anyway, my point is that God's intent is for every local church to rise up to be a united Army with a common mission, advancing a common Kingdom against a common enemy. He also dreams that we would live as a Body, with each member actively playing it's part in sacrificially serving the rest of the Body.
Coincidentally, I would say that God is also working in Southlands at this time, in growing a compelling Family and Bride into a powerful Body and Army. My prayer is that we would all look to Jesus, the Head of our Body and Captain of our Army, and with one voice would declare, "Lord, Use us and Lead us."