A little boy built a model ship, glued all the pieces together, and worked on it for hours. It was perfect. Every detail was correct, down to tiny sailors standing on the deck. He put it in a glass case. He wouldn't let his brother play with it in the bathtub. He was going to keep it perfect by keeping it safe.
His parents bought a real boat so they could spend the weekends sailing out on the harbor. They loved it. At first. It was a lot of work to maintain. Boat owners will tell you that the day you bought your boat was the happiest day of your life, and the day you sold it was the second happiest. At first, they used it a lot. But then they used it less. It was expensive. After a few months, they went to spend a day sailing and found barnacles growing on the side, algae all over it, and a dead motor. A real boat is only kept in shape by being used.
The two boats worked in opposite ways. The model was preserved by being kept safe. The real boat was preserved by being used.
Churches are like the real boat; they are only kept in shape by being used. Churches that are preserved and spared use will eventually fall into disrepair. But churches that pour themselves into serving their communities will find energy, calling, passion, and love.
"As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace" (1 Peter 4:10).
"Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:18-20).