Wednesday, July 02, 2008

You Have Problems if You are in a Church

I was sitting in a circle of new friends in another state discussing living together in community for the glory of Jesus. In others words, we were talking about church and in this discussion it was a church that met in a home. Everyone had agreed that church is to be lived in unity (Eph. 4:1-6) where we are on mission together (Acts 4:29-31) and where the message of Jesus would be attractive to a people who live in a world with lots of pain (Matt. 11:28). I listened to stories about people wanting to make a difference in their communities and how that was fleshing itself out. There was a hunger and thirst for deeper connections with Jesus, each other and the world. These people were most excited about God, church and seeing the communities they lived in transformed for the Kingdom of God. Then something happened. The conversation seemed to change and not for the better. The excitement drained from the room and tension began to rise. Uncertainty replaced confidence and apathy filled the void of where excitement once reigned. The ‘something’ that changed the conversation was the mention of people in their churches, their quirks and the baggage that they brought to the group. Some brought the baggage of immaturity, others pain, some had affluence (which really bugged one couple) while others brought the baggage of…children (eeeek). Some thought others worked too much, others were too lazy, one couple thought people in their group were full of pride (unlike the judgment they were full of) and finally there were those who got upset because they were the only ones who would initiate anything. So, you can see that the biggest problem in any type of church is people who are around other people. So, what to do about working through these differences? Here are some simple (but hard to enact) principles that will help unity in your church. 1. Be others focused (Phil. 2:1-5). 2. Take on the attitude of a servant (Matt. 20:20-28). 3. Always be ready to give of your self to bless others (1 Cor. 14:1-3 & 26). 4. Be quick to admit when you are wrong (James 5:16). 5. Let words that encourage others roll off of your lips (Eph. 4:29 & Jms 4:11). 6. Let love be your compass (1 Peter 4:8). 7. Remind yourself that your struggles are not against people, but against darkness (Eph. 6:10-20). 8. Always work to preserve unity (Eph. 4:1-6). By the way, if your church is not currently facing difficulties, just wait about 5 minutes and it will. If you don’t have difficulties regularly, I would wager that there aren’t real people in your church ;-0
Here is a short clip that parodies what happens at times when people are together and wanting their way.