Welcome to Season 2 of the Your Church Matters podcast. In this episode (50), I gave my impressions on a question I was recently asked.
I was recently speaking to a group of community and ministry leaders and Jack asked me, based on my observation from interacting with numerous churches, my opinion on the state of the church.
Jack’s question gave me pause because, even though my ministry gives me opportunities to observe quite a few churches over the course of a year, I am not a researcher and many others are eminently more qualified to speak to the state of the church.
However, he asked me for my opinion, so I gave it: The church needs to lighten up.
In my 2 minutes of conversation with Jack, I said that we, as the church, have just about whined and complained ourselves into oblivion. If our primary calling is to let people know what makes us unhappy or what offends us, we have done a bang-up job.
That’s all I had time for that day, but I’ve continued to think about it. So I’m expanding on that here with a few more thoughts on how the church needs to lighten up. These are in no particular order, except the order in which I though of them.
The church needs to lighten up …
- In the way we use social media.
- In the way we share our political views.
- In our propensity toward being offended.
- In our tendency to exaggerate.
- In our critique of those who hold different views.
- In our sense of entitlement.
I could probably go on, but then I would be guilty of the same kind of nitpicking I am arguing against.
So, what’s the alternative? Again, I have some opinions. Some Scriptures come to mind for me:
“Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.” (Jeremiah 29:7)
“By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, But by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down. He who despises his neighbor lacks sense, But a man of understanding keeps silent.” (Proverbs 11:11-12)
“Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:46-47)
“And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” (Luke 2:52)
Practical ways to lighten up (starting TODAY)
- Use social media as a tool for blessing rather than a weapon.
- Find ways to engage with your community and let them know you are for them.
- Learn how to speak the truth in love. Model and teach it within your local congregation.
- Learn, model, and teach the skill of respectful dialogue rather than strident argument.
- Extend more grace than you have received.
- Admit that you don’t know everything there is to know.
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*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music)
*Special thanks to Nathan Woodward (Saxophone Music)