Amazing grace! The message of Jesus and His grace never goes out of style.
The number people that have been harmed by churches seems innumerable. Once again I was confronted by the reality that there are many wounded believers out there. This past Sunday I was privileged to preach away from home. The church I preached at is a wonderful body of believers that gets grace. As such she is finding people coming through her doors that are weary and wounded from churches and pastors that don’t get grace. They are healing to be sure, but the wounds run deep when they are given by someone or something that is supposed to be trustworthy and Christlike.
It amazed me that a message on “being as He is in this world” should bring some to tears and yet once again it happened. As I was preaching and encouraging the church to be the kind of supernatural church the world needs to see, some began to weep over how things had been before they found this church and before this church found grace. Following the service as I was listening to the testimonies of these precious people, I was shown how much these people actually feared their former pastors. This continues to drive me to be the kind of man that God wants me to be. It drives me to be careful in my preaching and in my leadership. It reminds me to take the charge of caring for the Bride of Christ seriously.
I will often aim my blog at preachers and pastors because I am one and as such I think that I can be of service. However, this also needs to aimed at churches as well. There are many men in the ministry trying to lead their churches to the grace of God and Biblical behavior and standards, but are being torn apart in the process. There are church members that stir up strife and division instead of following the Word and approaching the pastor face to face. As much as I try to encourage pastors to be Christlike in carrying out their ministry, I sense the need to challenge the churches to let them! There are churches that think the pastor shouldn’t be anything more than a figure head and one that should just preach and teach what they agree with. The time has come for these troublesome members to come to their pastors with their concerns directly and stop stirring up strife. There are some in the church that are abusive to other members and it’s time they examine their own hearts in the matter and recognize where God has placed them in the body and focus on being the blessing to others instead of wounding others. There are some churches and members that are so inward focused that they have forgotten the blessing of being the blessing. There are some that seem to take pride in sowing discord and division. There are yet others that are still so caught up in man-made traditions and standards that they walk about with disdain toward their brethren’s freedom in Christ. They are filled with pride and instead of walking in humility, they patently reject their pastors attempts to correct the course of the church.
Ultimately the message from the other night asked the question “why is the world shaking its head at the church”. Is it because they are disdainful and disgusted at the Bride because of her petty backbiting and abuse? Or do they shake their head in dismay and wonder at the Brides unity and love for one another? I’m sorry to see so many Bridezillas out there and yet yesterday, I was so encouraged to find a church and pastor that are doing life and ministry together in such a way that the world is beginning to… Wonder.