Thinking Out Loud

March 9, 2018

A Diagnostic for Disarming Discord in the Local Church

Today I want to introduce something which will, I believe, help in the situations where there two sides to an issue being faced at the place where you worship. It won’t exactly solve anything, but it will help us all understand what it is that shapes the opinions people hold to so passionately about those color-of-the-carpet issues which often divide congregations. I call it a Diagnostic for Disarming Discord in the Local Church or D3LC for short.

I think many of our misunderstandings begin with what we’re expecting the local church to do or to provide for ourselves and the community at large, but also how we perceive the church is going to accomplish this. But much of this depends on a rather superficial factor, namely when we think our church is going to accomplish being the hands of feet in Christ in our neighborhoods, villages, towns, cities and metropolitan areas.

Basically, D3LC involves asking ourselves and the parties at odds a simple question: Do you see your church having its greatest impact in terms of what happens on Sunday morning (or if you prefer, weekend services) or do you see its greatest potential lying in the programs and outreaches and groups which are running the other days of the week?

If you see weekend worship as the primary instrument whereby God can use your church, then you’re placing a great deal of weight on your expectations for everything about that service: The general environment, the prayers and readings, the music elements and the preaching.

But if you see the many things going on during the week — the small groups, the office interactions, the midweek meetings, the children’s programs, the counseling sessions in the pastor’s office, the helping people move, the visiting of shut-ins, the meet-ups at coffee shops, etc.; then you’re going place less stress on what happens at those Sunday services. Not only to see them, but to appreciate the good that comes out of those activities.

They key to crossing over from a person of the first group to being a person of the second group is to know what’s going on the rest of the week; to know that — unless your pastor truly fits the stereotype and only works one day a week — your church is more than what happens when the congregation convenes for a weekly service of celebration, Lord’s table and teaching.

Honestly, if you don’t have a big picture view — even if you go to a little church — your perspective isn’t complete.

So… consider getting involved more. Drop in during the week with a snack for the church staff. Talk to people who are passionate, or even consumed with a mid-week program or outreach ministry.

You may find that the part you have seen up to this point is just a small part of a bigger picture.

Jesus, help us live in peace.
From our blindness set us free.
Fill us with your healing love.
Help us live in unity.

Many times we don’t agree
Over what’s right or wrong to do.
It’s so hard to really see
From the other’s point of view.

How we long for power and fame
Seeking every earthly thing.
We forget the one who came
As a servant not a king.

Jesus, help us live in peace.
From our blindness set us free.
Fill us with your healing love.
Help us live in unity.

 

 

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