Thursday, December 30, 2010

Changing church in love

Dave Black's advice is applicable to more than just how to go about encouraging participation in church:

My suggestion? Here it is, for what it's worth. If you'd like to see more participation during or after the sermon time in your church, get to know your pastor. Pray for him regularly. Develop a close, personal friendship with him. Let him know how greatly you respect him, as you are commanded to do in 1 Thess. 5:12-13 (CEV):
My friends, we ask you to be thoughtful of your leaders who work hard and tell you how to live for the Lord. Show them great respect and love because of their work. Try to get along with each other.
Then, within the "safe zone" established by that relationship, you will, I believe, discover opportunity after opportunity to talk with him about church life. I enjoy such a strong and healthy relationship with my pastor at Bethel Hill that I feel free to ask him for the privilege of "saying a word" during the teaching time, and he is glad to grant me that privilege. And not only me. I've seen him gladly accommodate requests from moms and teens and just about anybody who has something the Lord has put on their heart. You see, the context is one of undeniable mutual love, and love makes all the difference.
Friends, if we rush into matters in a confrontational manner, we may soon regret what that does to our testimony. This makes for shallow and inadequate renewal because we have not touched the heart of the matter. It's easy to say to our pastor, "I believe I have the right to speak up this morning during the sermon time, and I'd like to know on what biblical basis you think I'm wrong." And, in some contexts, that may be the right thing to say. But -- and this is just my opinion -- unless it is spoken within the context of a healthy personal relationship, it will fail to accomplish its purpose.

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