I had a war within myself to even mention this but I saw a post by a minister that is struggling with the same issue. Last week, I was coaching a group of youth pastors on Value 6 of a Gospel Advancing Ministry which states “A Bold Vision Focuses It.” I messaged them and got the “ok’s” but “PLEASE LEAVE MY NAME OUT of it’s” so I feel able to post some of the details.
The question that led to our conversation was, “If your church's vision can be done by your church alone, is it a kingdom vision?” All of them then stated that they wish they could network but they have been systemically groomed to distance themselves from all churches but their own. WE HAVE A PROBLEM!!!
It got sadder when the one said that when leadership in their church gets the talking he wants to stand up on the table and say, “Guys can we just admit that we are upset because we’re dysfunctional and our gossiping, jealousy, slander, backbiting is adding more PLANK-EYE type sin on our own account!” Then he said, something that made us all tear up... “It will only change when this leadership style dies off because the adults and youth with friends at other churches ain’t falling for it. They know everyone’s dysfunctional and we’re all reaching for God together.” The show stopper was the statement “If I wasn’t in leadership there I wouldn’t attend there because of it.”
Needless to say there was a lot of healing that took place afterwards, a lot of encouragement to have the tough conversations with leadership. But most of all I believe this single conversation has united that group of ministers tighter than any community church service ever could have. The reason? Because everyone minister on that call felt the same way!
As a result of this conversation 5 thoughts came to mind…
1 I’M GUILTY AS CHARGED!
The truth is we all wrestle with “plank eye.” We have a sin nature that causes us to give GRACE to our shortcomings and LAW to others.
2 IT’S ALSO A BLANKETED STATEMENT
Obviously this doesn’t fit all churches. These are just general statements. There are many Gospel Advancing churches that put aside religious conviction (not sin) and work together to reach their communities.
3 DON’T BE BULLIED
“American church folk” don’t be bullied, systematically pinned against each other or check your brain at the door because we’re not under communism. It’s difficult for a non-believer to think you’ll love them through their faults when we show dislike believers who have different convictions (not sin activity).
4 THERE’S A REAL GOD
There’s a real God, that displays real love, through a real Savior. The local church is place in a community to display this love on earth. NOTE: each great church will and should have dysfunctional people because everyone needs a Savior.
5 THE 180 ASK
It feels weird to say but to the “non-church folk…” “pray for us!”
I do honestly believe that revival is in the hearts of believers who get the revelation that we’re better together. If “the church” is the body of Christ (hands, feet, eyes and ears) then is it ok for the hand to say to foot because you’re not like the hand you’re not part of the body?
If you find yourself in a similar situation then I encourage you, don’t be bullied and have the difficult conversation with the people able to make change. Who knows this may be the thing withholding the move of God in the church and from the community.