Monday, August 28, 2006

Taking it personally

I know I'm ultrasensitive. The term is uttered and I take it personally. I automatically bristle whenever I hear someone say, "The church should. . ." or "This is a real problem in the church" or "What the church really needs is. . ." Talking in these mass generalizations always makes me nervous. Being married to a music pastor has taught me when phrases like this come up it usually means either my husband or some member of the pastoral staff will be have to be gone ANOTHER night from home.

Forgive me for being a little defensive, but I wonder, exactly WHO are we expecting to solve the problem when we say, "the church should. . ."? If we think the "church body" needs to work on more effective discipleship, who SPECIFICALLY, should be working on that? Aren't ALL believers part of "the church"? Does that mean YOU need to work on more effective discipleship? If you hear, "the body of Christ needs to meet the needs of the elderly better", could it mean YOU need to meet the needs of the elderly better? If someone says, "the church is not sensitive enough to single parents", does that mean YOU are not sensitive enough to single parents? "The church has to reach out to troubled youths" translates to YOU have to reach out to troubled youths. Ouch, huh?

Lumping issues under the umbrella of "the church" leaves the responsibilities vague and open-ended. It doesn't require much of us individually then, does it? It's a way to get ourselves off the hook. I challenge you to start taking references to "the church" personally. We,"the church body", could accomplish so much more if we did.

3 comments:

Jilian Burgess said...

I think quite often that we individually take the easy way out of things. For instance when my pastor speaks on the importance of giving your time to the church I think, well, that guy over there should give his time, or the pretty lady next to me should do that. What if we took action instead of watching from the outside and telling people (specifically pastoral staff)what they should do? What things could be accomplished in a congregation of hundreds?

Anonymous said...

Today's Devotion from Purpose Driven Life August 22, 2006

If I have no love
by John Fischer

In his book The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren makes a very radical statement: “If I have no love for others, no desire to serve others, I should question whether Christ is really in my life.”This bold assertion comes from something John said in his first letter: “If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to eternal life. But a person who has no love is still dead.” (1 John 3:14)

The presence of love in your heart for others and the realization of what you can do to serve them is evidence that you have been born again and Christ is in your heart.The absence of any such sensitivity suggests that you may still be the center of your universe. It may all still be about you.

Can you look at your life over the last few days and see evidence of the fact that you have cared about someone other than yourself?Can you point to some examples of how you have served a brother or a sister in some way?If you can, take heart.If you can’t, it might be a good time for some soul searching.

I have tried this little test on myself, and I must admit I don’t always do very well. Even though I spend a good deal of time serving others through my gifts of speaking and writing while I am on the road, you could also say that this is my work. This is what I’m expected to do. I do this for a living. I am “on” for these moments of ministry.But I can get very selfish with my “off” time.I isolate myself in a hotel room or an airplane seat.I make myself unavailable to the needs around me.I might not even call home, because that would only remind me of those there who need my attention.

Sometimes, I think we need to step in and serve even if we don’t feel like it. Once we do, Christ energizes us and gives us not only the strength to do this, but the desire to do it again.Ask God to open your eyes to those around you and show you ways in which you can serve them in love.That’s being obedient to what he asks and finding his power to do it all at the same time.

How about this?I’ll pray for you right now and you pray for me that God will awaken us with hearts to serve, the wisdom to see the need, and the power to follow through.

kpjara said...

Personally...in our small 'start-up' church when someone speaks about something the church 'needs to do', I, or even our pastor or another leader type person says: "That's wonderful...do you have other people in mind to help, or is it something you want to get started on your own?"

I think it's one thing to see a need...but actually DOING the serving is quite another thing indeed and deed! (I couldn't resist the pun, sorry:)

I'm so glad you visited me...I love your posts!