10 Tips To Surviving and Thriving In The Local Church
This blog is going to come out in two parts. It is from John Lambert who spoke at Freedom House last week. He and his lovely wife, Jacqueline, are getting ready to launch to the mission field of Thailand.
Here is what he had to say on the local church. I appreciate his heart coming through. He has been a friend to Troy and I and he is speaking from his heart and from his experience when he blogs here.
As I near the end of my time in the States at Freedom House, I though it would be fitting to talk to you a little bit about local church. It grieves me to no end to see people with great potential in God not know how to stay connected to a local church. They get offended, bothered with issues of style, set unrealistic expectations, and don’t know how to sow their influence in the community in a healthy way.
Then they usually exit quietly out the back door; off to another congregation in search of perfection. We all know that it will never be found and then the cycle begins again until they can eventually end up cynical and disillusioned. Let it never be! Here are 10 short tips that I thought of that might help you or someone you know, not only survive in the local church, but THRIVE!
1. Realize it’s not about you-Come to church thinking, “what can I do to add value to someone else’s life today?” Think about how you can connect with God and his people in a deeper way and not how someone can better cater to your needs.
2. Sow what you desire-If you desire friendship and community then you will have to sow (put some work into) friendship and community. Don’t stop giving in the areas you desire to gain and you will eventually get what you are looking for. If you want your church to be better, then what are you sowing for it to be better?
3. Don’t let offenses fester-If you have an offense, go to the person and bring it out in a spirit of reconciliation. If you let it fester, the person will sneeze wrong and it will aggravate you. He who repents first is the most mature. Offense is inevitable in the local church. Survival is dependent on how you process it and deal with it.
4. Pick your battles-Learn to give when it comes to personal preferences and style and stand firm when it comes to integrity and following God’s word. Everyone avoids a fault finder and complainer, but if you are a true friend, you will always be heard even if you have to “throw the grenade on the table.” Find a church that has a similar core heart to yours in the beginning then stick with them. Don’t leave over issues of style-including music, decoration, timing of services, buildings, etc…
5. Get connected-Find a way to connect to events where you can connect with people. Small groups, outreaches, and serving are great ways to meet a practical need and meet other people. Most people who get picked off by the enemy are not connected in any way other than Sunday morning.
Part II next…