Goodbye, Gripe Sessions
Director of Discipleship
What sets a church body apart from any other group of people? All to often, it’s not much. We can talk a good talk about being a “family”, having good “fellowship” and about loving each other, but many people are bitterly disappointed when their own church experience doesn't come close to the hype.
It’s easy to point out the shortcomings of any church—it’s practically a Sunday sport! However, we conveniently forget that we ourselves are the church.
“Oh!” says one person, “if we had another minister. Oh! if we had another kind of worship. Oh! if we had a different sort of preaching.” They do not need new ways or new people, they need life in what they already have. If you want to move a train, you don’t need a new engine, or even ten engines—you need to light a fire and get the steam up in the engine you now have!
It is not a new person or a new plan, but the life of God in them that the Church needs. Let us ask God for it! Perhaps He is ready to shake the world at its very foundations. Perhaps even now He is about to pour forth a mighty influence upon His people which shall make the Church in this age as vital as it ever was in any age that has passed.
These words were spoken by Charles Spurgeon about 150 years ago, and they could be applied to SCFBC today.
A key to making a church into a community in the spiritual sense is forgiveness. I always understood this to mean that if someone does something bad to me, I have to forgive them. But I've come to realize that in community, we have to forgive constantly. Forgive people for what they say (or don’t say)—for hurting my feelings—for not meeting my expectations. We have to forgive our church leaders for not being all that they should be—the pastor for not having the personality we think he should have—the music director for the choice of songs (or the volume of the music).
“Stop being bitter and angry and mad at others…Instead, be kind and merciful, and forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ. Do as God does. After all, you are His dear children. Let love be your guide.” (Ephesians 4:31-5:2 CEV)
Forgiveness is love in action. It’s not easy, but forgiveness is a habit that we can practice. This means every time I interact with another person, I will probably need to forgive them. And I earnestly hope that other people will forgive me!
For more thoughts on spiritual growth and discipleship, go to http://fromheretomaturity.blogspot.com/