“Well, I walked into church, and no one spoke to me!” “Every Sunday, my heart is stirred, and I leave knowing I have met with my Lord!” Our preacher . . . fill-in-the-blanks!” “All our church knows to do is ask for money!” “Our kids ministry is awesome!” These and a whole host of other statements, both positive and negative, true and false, have been and continue to be said about the local church. So, in today’s post I want you to consider what you say to others about the local church you attend. What have you said in the past month?
For this post, let’s consider a couple of statements that are commonly heard:
“Our church is so unfriendly!”
That condition can be taken care of very quickly. Proverbs 18:24 reminds us, He that has friends must himself be friendly. You go to church Sunday and be the friendliest person there. Put your “finger gun” away and greet folks with a broad smile and a hearty hand shake. Engage them in conversation and then stop where you are and pray for them. You will start a culture of biblical friendliness that will be contagious!! A church is always better off when folks put away their “finger gun.” That thing is liable to go off! 🙂
“I’m not getting fed at our church.”
Certainly it is every pastor’s privilege and responsibility to teach the Word of God (1 Timothy 3:2; 4:12-16; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 4:2). This mandate is not to be taken lightly. We have been commanded to feed the flock of God (1 Peter 5:2) with “good grain” from the Word. That being said, the responsibility for your spiritual growth is not the pastor’s. You are to be a student of the Word (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:1-3; Hebrews 5:12-14) hiding it in your heart (Psalm119:11) and making it your own in daily application. As the pastor feeds you, it whets your appetite to grow and know your God more and more. If your pastor is weak in that area, pray for him. Pray that his early morning hours will be a time of intimate relationship with God. Pray that Truth will so grip him that on Sundays he will preach from the “overflow.” The hours he spends in sermon preparation is time consuming as well as physically and mentally demanding. Perhaps he is doing too much in ministry. Ask him what you can do to lighten his load so he can pray and study. He has not been “hired” to do the entire soul winning, visitation, discipleship, and administration of the church. You need to join up with him in teamwork for the Savior. It’s easier to pull out your “finger gun” and its barrel at your under-shepherd than to come to know him, encourage him and be his “Barnabas.” Remember them . . . who have spoken unto you the word of God . . . . for they watch for your souls, as they must give an account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief (Hebrews 13:7, 17).
This is enough for now. I close with a reminder. The church consists of sinners saved by the grace of God. It is a spiritual hospital for a sin-sick, mentally-hurting, heart-broken, doubting, discouraged, worn-out society. For every issue of life, Christ and His Word is the answer, the remedy. Therefore, point to Christ first in all things in the church (Colossians 1:15-19). It is His Church. He died for it (Ephesians 5:25).
By the way, a lost world is watching and listening to us. Oh, be careful little tongue what you say. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers (Ephesians 4:29). What have you said about your church this past month? What have you said about your Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ?
See you Sunday!