I devoted this podcast to answering a listener question.
Teresa asked for, “Practical tips on what one person can do to help realign their church with the Biblical ideal…or how one person can make a difference.”
I divided my response into 3 sections:
- What I would do for some clarification if I were interviewing you in person as a part of a consultation.
- Some general thoughts on the nature of the church and the Biblical ideal that I see in Scripture.
- Some practical tips that I have thought of.
- Give me some specific examples of how you believe your church is not currently aligned with the biblical ideal … is it a matter of beliefs … is it a matter of practices … is it a matter of focus?
- Help me understand what you believe the Biblical ideal to be … I’d ask for some specific Biblical principles that you believe are being missed … I’d try to help you clarify the point of frustration you have … I’d also try to identify if this is something that you believe to be across the board or if it is only in one particular area or focus.
- Help me understand if your understanding of the Biblical ideal is something that is a matter of preference or interpretation, rather than a matter of theological soundness or Biblical fidelity. Each of us should seek to be as true to the Scripture as possible. Hopefully, each of us thinks that our understanding is correct. Hopefully, we will also have enough grace to be willing to dialogue with and learn from others. I am convinced that there is not one person I will ever meet that I can’t learn something from, nor is there a church that is not doing anything right.
- A biblical New Testament Church is a community of faith. It is always more about “we” than “me.” One person, even if that person is a recognized leader, cannot realign a church by him/herself. The church is on the journey of faith together and MUST journey together in unity … (Ephesians 4:11-16)
- You can also look at the body metaphor that Paul uses in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 and see how we need each other. We are interconnected and interdependent and the only way the Body functions properly is with each member functioning properly.
- “One another” phrases in the writings of the Apostle Paul, we have … Be devoted to one another … Honor one another … Live in harmony with one another … love one another … stop passing judgment on one another … Accept one another … instruct one another … Greet one another … agree with one another … serve one another … be patient, bearing with one another … be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other … Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs … submit to one another out of reverence for Christ … Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another … teach and admonish one another with all wisdom … encourage one another and build each other up
- Jesus Himself said that people would know that we are His followers if we love one another
- One other passage I would point to is Acts 2:42-47. I have used this passage to help churches see themselves through Scripture … 3 columns … column 1 (what they did) … column 2 (eternal principle) … column 3 (how the eternal principle is properly carried out in our context).
- Be what you want to see in others
- Treat others how you want to be treated
- Pray for your pastor and church leaders
- Discover your ministry gifts and find your place of ministry and service alongside your brothers and sisters in Christ
- Share your concerns appropriately
- With respect and grace
- With the right people (talk “to” people, not “about” people … stay in the room)
- Look for something to affirm before you criticize (3 praises for every 1 criticism)
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