Did you know that you’re supposed to be a “ship builder”? First off, we believers know that our God has designed us—our primary purpose—is to worship God. Isaiah 43:21 (ESV) says, “The people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.” We are to praise God. The other simple aspect of this, that we might gloss over, is that this is to be done as a people. Worshipping God is to be done as a “congregation” of people.
Now, back to the first question I posed. What do I mean by a “ship builder?” What I mean by this is, and this is lost in translation when it gets translated into Chinese, we ought to be looking at the suffix. In churches, we have many “ships”: worship, mentorship/discipleship, relationship, fellowship… I even found a few more from a church online that I hadn’t heard used before but do make sense. They are: Christian Churchmanship, Christian Entrepreneurship and Christian Statesmanship. According to this church, here are the definitions of all seven Christian “ships”:
1. Worship: the Christian Faith applied to human response towards God in Spirit and in Truth.
2. Discipleship: the Christian Faith applied to imitating Christ in personal Morals and Manners.
3. Relationship: the Christian Faith applied to interacting with Family, Friends, and Folks.
4. Fellowship: the Christian Faith applied to interaction among Fellowship Christians.
5. Churchmanship: the Christian Faith applied to roles in the church for effective Worship, Fellowship and Discipleship. (In other words, a church leader.)
6. Entrepreneurship: The Christian Faith applied to enterprise in the Marketplace. (This means, the work that is done in the world, such as where we work and interact with others in public places.)
7. Statesmanship: the Christian Faith applied to roles and services of Public Office. (I don’t think this means that we are all to be politicians, but there is a place for us to be active in our local communities, as this is just one more way for us to bring our Christian faith into the different spheres of the world.)
The application for us now is to consider personally where we are in each of these stages, almost like a staircase, where Worship is the first step and most basic. What this means is if one is, for example, not engaging in Christian Worship then one should not be focusing on Christian Churchmanship, as one is attempting to serve in an area he/she is not prepared for. While the order is important, what is of greater importance is to seek to fulfill these ships, one at a time. As we do so, we are partaking in the harvest and bringing more people into the “ship building” process. Let’s keep building up the Lord’s Kingdom for his glory!