May God Have Mercy

May God Have Mercy

RiverWalk Church of Christ Wichita Ks  Minister

Once in a while, not often, I will peruse the Facebook timeline of someone I don’t know. Usually, I do so because one of my friends shared a link that came from that timeline, and I’m curious to see a little more about that person.
I am often struck with how much apparent anger and hate is in the hearts of many of these people. Often, their timelines are filled with diatribes against Muslims, Democrats, LGBTQ folks, illegal aliens, politicians, Arabs, and others that they mostly didn’t write themselves, but rather shared from yet other timelines.
I can’t fathom how these people can function in the world with any sense of normalcy when this kind of anger and hate is boiling up inside them on a mostly continual basis. And then, when I find in the middle of all of that some post that identifies these people as Christian, I am even more taken aback. The minds and hearts of these people have to be in such a jumbled state of torment, disarray, and disaster that they just cannot function in any sense of the word “normal” for any length of time.
I have blocked several of my friends on Facebook because of the posts that they share. And it is with some sadness that I do so, but I cannot abide having that kind of vitriol and trash on my timeline. If one has a well-reasoned opinion and is kind and considerate in sharing it, I don’t mind. That’s what makes us stronger as a nation and as a people. I will not tolerate, however, name-calling, false statements, denigrating, or vicious comments about people of one culture or another.
I am reminded of Galatians 5 where Paul writes out a list of the “deeds of the flesh” which includes impurity, strife, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,, and others. The posts which appear on some peoples’ timelines are stark evidence of the “deeds of the flesh” which are inherent in humanity in general.
The fruit of the Spirit, which Paul talks about following the “deeds of the flesh” list are those which should be in the heart of the Christian and are diametrically opposite those of the flesh. Love, peace, kindness, gentleness, self-control, and others are those characteristics which mark the true child of God, and should be the descriptors of anything you post for the world to see.
If you post on Facebook or social media of any kind, measure what you post against the “Deeds of the flesh” list and the “Fruit of the Spirit” list. Which of those lists does your post most resemble? Which list SHOULD your post most resemble?
There is not place in the heart of the Christian to disparage belittle, or ridicule others, period…end of discussion. It matters not if those in question are Muslim, heathen, black, brown, foreign, illegal, liberal, bi-sexual, gender neutral, Arab, Indian, Catholic, Hispanic, female, or anything else. They are human beings, created in the image of God Almighty, who loves them with a love that far exceeds anything they can otherwise experience in this life. As such, they are due the dignity and respect that you yourself would expect from anyone else. For you as a Christian to give any less is to make those who God created in His image nothing more than rubbish or trash. I shudder to think about what kind of account I will have to give when I am one endless day before the throne of the Almighty, knowing that I have treated some people with less than the dignity and respect they deserve.
May God have mercy on me.

Posted in Jay's Blog | Leave a comment

Least of These

Least of These

RiverWalk Church of Christ Wichita Ks  Minister

Each day when I wake up, I do my bathroom stuff, then come out and check my phone for appointments I have that day, or messages I need to know about. Today when I checked, I saw one from a good friend of ours…I’ll call her Sarah. Sarah’s immediate family consists of herself, her husband of almost 30 years, and a daughter who is now a young adult. They were our neighbors for several years, and we became well-acquainted with them over the years.
Sarah texted me this morning before I woke, telling me she was homeless as her husband was seeing another woman, filed for divorce, and threw her out of the house via temporary restraining order. She said she was living at a homeless shelter in central Wichita, but had spent some nights in her car before getting a bed at the shelter. This was all quite a shock to her, as she had no clue what was going on.
Additionally, Sarah’s husband cleaned out the bank accounts and absconded with a lot of community property. The hearing on the temporary order is this coming Tuesday when it will either be lifted, modified, or made permanent. She has very little in the way of “things” right now, and an income of a little over $900 a month from a disability. Sarah was in shock, had no idea what to do next, and was pretty much lost.
I texted Sarah and invited her to come to the office so we could talk. She did, and we talked for an hour or more. As today was her birthday, I took her to lunch and we talked more. We talked about a lot of things, but one thing stands out. Sarah, almost 50 years old, raised middle class, living a middle class life, suddenly within minutes was thrust into the culture of the homeless. She has no family she can rely upon, and was able to sleep on the floor of a friend’s house for a short time, but needed to quickly do something besides that. So she found the Interfaith Inn in downtown Wichita. It was there where she ran headlong into the homeless and poverty culture, which provided her with an additional shock to her already fragile situation.
She said to me, “Jay, I don’t even know the language they are speaking. I don’t understand what they are saying.” Additionally, she went on, they behave differently; they think differently; they think of their families differently; they live differently; they use money differently…in short, the entire world view of the homeless and poverty-stricken is different than the typical middle class outlook on life.
That, to Sarah, seemed to be the biggest hurdle of all…the sudden immersion in another culture and another way of life and living…no, make that survival. And that’s what most people don’t “get” when thinking of ways to work with the homeless and poverty-stricken folks. Politicians don’t have a clue. Bureaucrats don’t have a clue. Churches don’t, by and large, have a clue. And the general public certainly doesn’t have a clue.
The old, “pull yourself up by your bootstraps,” is a good one-liner, but is useless in the poverty and homeless culture. These people don’t have bootstraps…and if they happen to have them, they haven’t a clue how to grab hold of them; they haven’t a clue what they are for; they haven’t a clue what it means to pull themselves up by them. The barriers to an education, gainful employment, and middle class life start with having to obtain an ID, which means they have to have Internet access, transportation, a mailing address (not a P.O. Box) to have the ID mailed to, money to send off to get a birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc., a utility bill or some such to use as proof of address, and so on. Additionally, they need to know the state or jurisdiction where their birth certificate is kept, which for some is an unknown.
Getting a valid ID is just almost impossible for a homeless person. And without a valid ID, there is no job. There is no renting an apartment. There is no checking into a motel. In many cases the shelters and pantries are closed to them. Government assistance is difficult or impossible to get without a valid ID. The middle class and ruling class have effectively relegated the homeless person without an ID to the status of non-person. He or she doesn’t exist. And the barriers to getting an ID are pretty much insurmountable.
I know I’ve talked about this before…but it hurts me greatly to see this culture relegated into non-existence. These are human beings. These are people. These are the “least of these” that I believe will surround the throne of God Himself while those of us who had lives of comfort are judged according to whether or not we recognized these people as our neighbors and loved them as we loved ourselves.

Posted in Jay's Blog | Leave a comment

It’s Time We Got Started

It’s Time We Got Started

RiverWalk Church of Christ Wichita Ks  Minister

The current election cycle is filled with the usual back and forth as well as the now-usual disparagement of the other candidate; the messages of the PAC’s as well as stump speeches by current officials from the President on down. Among those groups of voters who are courted by this side or that ideology are the so-called evangelicals. I say so-called because many who are in the political evangelical camp haven’t a clue what it means to be a spiritual evangelical.
The evangelical block is being told in no uncertain terms that unless their candidates win, they (the evangelicals) could “lose everything.” Now, I’m not sure just what that means, but I suspect that those who say that to the evangelical block are using the fear of non-acceptance, the fear of not reversing Roe V Wade, the fear of restrictions on religious freedom, and the fear of out-and-out persecution to marshal the troops and get out the conservative vote.
And it seems to be working. Evangelical voters more and more are becoming radical evangelical voters…voting the evangelical ticket even if they have to hold their noses against the stench that belongs to the candidate on the evangelical side.
I don’t know what you are…evangelical, liberal, independent, or socialist. But I have to wonder where evangelicals place God in all of this. Where is God in their world view? What is God doing in the world in their world view? Is God helplessly standing by, hoping His people will vote the right way? Is God wringing his hands (so to speak) wishing for some kind of groundswell of support for His side?
One church preacher is quoted as saying, “The church must take right ground in regard to politics. God cannot sustain this free and blessed country unless the church will take right ground…” Of course, he means voting for and supporting right-leaning politicians. Now, take what he said into good account. “God cannot sustain…” Really? You’re telling me that God is powerless to do what He desires to do? I’m sorry. God can jolly well do whatever God desires to do, regardless of the opposition He may face from the human race. It isn’t up to us to decide the course of history…God already knows where He will take human history, and is working even now to see that His will is done perfectly and completely.
How presumptuous this man is! How utterly ignorant this man is! And I would use a more base language, except that this is a blog post on a church web page. If I could insert my voice into the “What’s wrong with America” debate, I would say that a lack of humility and a false sense of our own superiority and ability rank right up there with greed, covetousness, and idolatry.
It’s time we got flat, face down in the dirt and appeal to the God of the universe for forgiveness. Forget asking for the right outcome in the next election. Forget asking for the right Supreme Court justice. We have a lot of “sackcloth and ashes” time to make up as Christians and as a nation. It’s time we got started.

Posted in Jay's Blog | Leave a comment

God At Work

God At Work

RiverWalk Church of Christ Wichita Ks  Minister

What follows was written by a dear friend who I have known since her childhood days. Her story is real. It is riveting. It is brutally honest. If you follow this blog, you know I’ve talked of her in prior posts. Recently, she wrote and posted this on Facebook. Somehow, it went viral and she has over 87,0000 shares and 18,000 comments on this post. Even if you’re familiar with her story, read it again. And again. And know that God does indeed work in the hearts and lives of men and women.
If someone would’ve told me three years ago what the love of Christ would do in my heart and life I would have given you and God the middle finger. If someone would’ve told me that in the next three years that same God that I spent the last nine running away from would restore relationships with my family and with my children…out of fear…I would’ve told you I’ll only mess it up. Three years ago, I had two options to die or live, and to be completely honest I didn’t want either of the two but somewhere within my broken heart I chose to reach out that day and went to detox. (Kicking and screaming might I add)
I had about two weeks clean when I was invited to a Bible study at a little coffee shop that I really had no interest in going to at the time. It was in that place that I met a woman and eventually an entire family that whether by word or selfless deed would show me the grace and love of Christ. There was something different in this woman that The Lord used to speak truth into my heart. She still does. Samantha Sutton Duncan and Heath Duncan I am forever grateful to you both for loving me and showing me grace and a different way of life.
I’m grateful to my family…all of my sisters and brothers for all that you are. Which is a lot of goodness. Thank you to all the new relationships and reconnections that have been beautifully placed in my life. I deeply love you all and I’m so excited for what the future holds.
But beyond all of the many blessings and even beyond my sobriety I am thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I don’t deserve a single ounce of your never-ending eternal love and yet here you are still loyal and so faithful in all your promises. You and I both know God that it wouldn’t have mattered if a million someone’s told me what all you could do within my life over the past three years. But you had a very specific way of revealing it to my heart, because you know every intricate part about us.
To all the men and woman reading this that struggle with addiction…there is hope. You are not too far gone. You are not forgotten, and you have a father in heaven longing for you to let him in.
To the children and the families affected by addiction. Do not lose hope and NEVER cease praying.

Posted in Jay's Blog | Leave a comment

Just a Thought

Just a Thought

RiverWalk Church of Christ Wichita Ks  Minister

We’re hearing a lot of words and phrases these days that sometimes get us older folks a little confused at times. Words like evangelicalism, racial divide, social justice, left wing, alt right, and others you can think of seem to permeate the conversations of everyone from pundits to preachers. And the cacophony is deafening at times. Where did all of this conversation come from? And why?
One might posit several possibilities. The rise of the Internet and social media has resulted in an explosion of entertainers who entertain their audiences with political and social commentary. The availability of 24 hour instant news reports, well-vetted or not, tends to make people more aware of what is happening in the world. Society in general is becoming more aware of aspects of it that need improvement. Race relations is just one of those aspects.
So, what is the Christian to do with this “awakening” that has been happening over the last few decades? How is the Christian to react? To answer that question, the Christian should go back to the life of Jesus and see how he handled these same things in his time. Yes, there were issues of racial tension, gender discrimination, political division, and other societal problems in his day.
For the most part, it seems that Jesus avoided the political issues of the day as they pertained to the Roman occupation. His strongest words were for Pontius Pilate when he told Pilate that Pilate would have no authority at all had God not given it to him (John 19:11).
But Jesus did break down barriers of gender and even race (Jews versus Gentiles) in his ministry. He gave dignity to women as well as those of other nationalities. He treated them with respect. He also elevated the status of children, widows, and the poor and outcast. He talked with them, touched them, developed relationships with them, and loved them.
He didn’t march on the capitol. He didn’t participate in a sit-in or civil disobedience. He didn’t go on television to spout his opinion about this or that Caesar or procurator or governor. He did work with people. He did provide food, medical care, and hope for many.
And he did teach. He taught “as one with authority,” and not as all of the rest of the teachers of that day. He didn’t spout his opinions; he told the truth. He never wavered, never backtracked, and never apologized. And (I’ll say it again), most of all, he gave hope…not just wishful thinking, but a true hope that penetrates, blesses, and shines through the darkest of circumstance.
So, what do we who claim to follow in Jesus’ footsteps do with the modern age? Well, that’s up to you. I can’t tell you how to live your life. But I can point you to Jesus Christ. And I can suggest that you pattern your life after what you see in his life.
One more thing. All of this political and societal stuff that seems so very important now suddenly loses its importance when we as Christians realize that this world is not our home. A heart attack, a cancer diagnosis, or an automobile accident will change one’s perspective on what is truly important in an instant…in the “twinkling of an eye,” as the Good Book says. Perhaps we would do better to spend our time in this life preparing for the life to come rather than being so obsessed with the here and now. Just a thought…

Posted in Jay's Blog | Leave a comment

My Mind is Made Up

My Mind is Made Up

RiverWalk Church of Christ Wichita Ks  Minister

”My mind is made up. Don’t confuse me with the facts!” Do you know anyone who might say this? Have you thought this, or said it at one time or another? A congressman is famously known to have said this regarding the Nixon Watergate scandal and his refusal to believe the overwhelming evidence against Mr. Nixon. Others are known to have said this or corollary quotes that say essentially the same thing. But I’m not concerned with others. I’m concerned about myself, and I’m concerned about you, especially when it comes to things spiritual. By the way, a fact is something that can be objectively, actually proven. A fact is actual existence, objective reality, actuality.
For example, do you know how much of what you believe is right or wrong comes from tradition and not from Holy Scripture? How much of your moral compass is based on Scripture, and how much is based on what has become the traditional, or the norm for this culture and this era? For example, we in this culture have in many cases come to believe that if a person would just find their bootstraps, pull themselves up by them, clean up and find a job, there would be no need for benevolence, either from government or from the private sector. The facts scream otherwise; yet many of us persist in that mistaken belief. And, is there a Scriptural basis for our belief, or does Scripture actually compel Christians to be generous and giving?
And insofar as worship is concerned, where do I begin? What do we believe to be right and wrong with the purpose of communion? Women’s role in worship and the church? Church organization? Instrumental or acappella music? Traditional or modern services? New songs or the old standards? Children’s church or worship with the adults? And the list could go on and on ad infinitum.
For those things on which we hold an opinion, what is our scriptural basis for it? And if we can cite a scriptural basis, does that scripture actually say what we believe it says, taking into account the context, era in which it was written, who it was written to, the purpose for the writing, etc?
Or do we hold that particular opinion on worship because of the traditional values handed down from the first (and following) leaders of the Restoration Movement…in itself a man-made, man-conceived movement subject to error and fallibility?
To make it all the more confusing, how many of us say something similar to, “Don’t confuse me with the facts,” when someone tries in love to open our minds to the possibility of another way of thinking? Are we factually certain of our beliefs regarding traditional versus modern services? New or old standard songs? Women’s role? Church government? Instrumental or acappella? Are we open to other ideas? Will we carefully consider them in the context of scripture or tradition? Are we willing to make a change in our world view when presented with the facts as facts are defined above? Or are we happy with the “alternative facts” that fit our preconceived perception of how things should be?
The Christian should always be open to growth, development, and modifying his or her world view in order to fit the facts. To modify the facts to make them fit one’s preconceived world view is not only wrong, it is sin, plain and simple. Jesus said, “I am the Truth.” If we are unwilling to believe the truth of the facts presented to us, and modify our world view accordingly, how can we ever hope to believe in Jesus Christ…The Truth?

Posted in Jay's Blog | Leave a comment

Why Bother?

Why Bother?

RiverWalk Church of Christ Wichita Ks  Minister

The thoughts in this blog are not my own…they come from Kendra Broekhuis, a stay-at-home mom and writer. I have re-written and arranged them in more of my own style.
It’s been several decades since we had kids young enough to burst out crying in the middle of a prayer at church. It’s been a long time since we had to stop loading up the car and take one of them back into the house and change him because he threw up on his Sunday clothes. And it’s been quite a while since we’ve had to deal with keeping kids occupied while the preacher seemingly droned on ad infinitum.
So, why did we do it? Why did we insist on bringing our kids to church, when they would rather have napped or played at home? Why did we go through those years, even to the point of sitting close to the front rather than in the back pews? The boys were too young at the time to understand, but as they got older, hopefully they picked up on some of those reasons. Ms. Broekhuis says these things much better than I could. Here’s her top three reasons.

1. Christianity is not just about a personal relationship where you hide in your room and keep your life between you and Jesus. There’s an entire Body involved, which makes that whole “Jesus but not Church” thing a decapitated version of this faith.

2. Church is community when the world feels friendless. It’s family when your own blood breaks down or is too far away to touch. It’s the place – no matter how much our own nation gets it wrong – for Jesus People of every tribe, tongue, and nation to belong.

3. In a healthy church, the sick are the most welcome – the ones who know they need the Doctor. The ones who desire to bring their sin to light and who want to rest in Grace. And that’s not a coming of age thing, but a heart thing.

This is Jay again. There have always been, and will continue to be people who call themselves Christians who, for whatever reason want to have nothing to do with the church. I can understand someone who may have some kind of mental or emotional challenge that prevents them from actively engaging with others in that kind of setting. But for the most part, the folks who shun the church body have no such impairment; they just don’t’ see the value in community, or they have the wrong idea of what the church community is for.
Ms. Broekhuis touches on three very important reasons for community. First, church is a body…not just a disembodied head. Second, church is a place to belong, even when there seems to be no other place for belonging. And third, church is a place of healing and grace that transcends the greatest of need and brokenness.
Those of us who are part of the church need to be certain that these things are present in our church in generous quantities, and that God’s grace and holiness is made apparent in the way we “do” church. For if church is not these things, then church is not what church was created by God to be. And as we are the church, we as Christians should long to always be as God intends for us to be…and be the welcoming body that brings Christ’s healing and grace to the broken.

Posted in Jay's Blog | Leave a comment

Of Judgment

Of Judgment

RiverWalk Church of Christ Wichita Ks  Minister

I often listen to KLOVE radio in the morning as I’m getting dressed and ready for the day. I’ve noticed that pretty much all of the songs on the radio nowadays are songs that talk of the love, mercy, and grace of God. And I’m good with that as far as the radio is concerned. But I have a concern that for those whose only (or perhaps primary) contact with spiritual things is the radio. I have to think that the fullness of God is not displayed in many of the songs. One of the attributes that I fear is being lost is the fact that God is righteous and will judge the world.
The Bible clearly teaches that God is holy, just, and sovereign. And it teaches that because of those attributes, there will come a time when God will make things right in righteous judgment. Those who are in Christ need not fear the coming Judgment, as the blood of the Savior will cleanse all sin. But for those outside of the grace of the Lord, there will be a time of reckoning.
I don’t wish to go back to a fear-based evangelism. But I think it is important to know just who God is and what the Bible teaches regarding His righteousness and holiness. James Montgomery Boice, in his book, “Fou0ndations of the Christian Faith,” says this about the holiness and judgment of God.
There is a reluctance today to talk about judgment. Judgment is thought to be ignoble. We can talk about God’s love, grace, mercy, care, compassion, strength. We can say he is the answer to whatever problem we have, and that he is adequate for every emergency. But to talk about God as a God of judgment and of Jesus Christ as a judge is so offensive to our culture that many let this doctrine pass.
How can we possibly overlook the fact that the great and holy God of the universe will one day judge sin? If it were not true that God will judge sin, it would be a blot on the name of God. We could not talk about a holy God, a just God, a sovereign God, if he were to let sin go on unchecked indefinitely.

We would do well to heed the comments of Boice. There is inherent in the gospel of Jesus Christ the certainty of judgment for those who have not accepted the offer of salvation through faith in the once-for-all offering of the Son of God. To preach any other gospel is to preach a half-truth. To preach any other gospel is to leave out a critical piece of the plan of salvation. To preach any other gospel is to water down the righteousness, purity, and holiness of God. To preach any other gospel is to make God into just another grandfatherly figure who loves everyone (which is true), condemns no one, and in blissful ignorance overlooks the stench and filth of evil.
We dare not change the message of the Good News concerning Jesus Christ into something that is more palatable to our sensibilities and our culture. It is what it is, and we need to man up, see ourselves and the world for what we and it are, and throw ourselves at the foot of the cross. As the song says well, Nothing in my hands I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling; Naked, come to Thee for dress, Helpless, look to Thee for grace: Foul, I to the fountain fly, Wash me, Savior, or I die

Posted in Jay's Blog | Leave a comment

Sow, Serve, and Be

Sow, Serve, and Be

RiverWalk Church of Christ Wichita Ks  Minister

Steve Ridgell, Director of Ministries for Hope For Life, says in a recent blog that many churches say they want to grow, but in reality would rather mark time with a “staying alive” kind of ministry. Instead of actual growth, many churches are more concerned with how to maintain the membership they already have.
Steve says that many churches want his opinion on how to grow, but don’t like his answer. Somehow, it seems to simplistic. But he gives his answer anyway. He frames it this way.
Make disciples. Add new births (spiritually). Sell out for evangelism. Change lives. Serve in the name of Jesus. Share your faith. Grow.
But what I often hear leads me to believe many of these churches do not really want Kingdom growth. They want church growth. Or at least “stay even” numbers, because they say things like this: “Of course we need to be evangelistic, but what about our young people? How do we keep them from leaving? Our young families are not involved. Should we look at changing our worship style? Should we use women in our public assemblies?
Sometimes it is like seeing cracks in the foundation of the house and listening to a discussion about if someone ought to try a different color of paint on the outside.

This is Jay again. Of course, Steve is correct. Nothing is ever said in the Bible about growing the church by changing the worship style, using or not using women in the assemblies, having a youth ministry program, or involving families. But a lot is said (and there are many examples as well) about making disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We get so caught up in the things that don’t really matter, when it comes to evangelism. Evangelism isn’t lights and smoke machines. It isn’t candles and liturgy. Nor is it 144 inch LCD screens and stage plays. Those things may or may not be appropriate in a worship service, but they are NOT evangelism.
Evangelism is teaching that sin leads to a broken relationship with God, and that Jesus fixes that relationship…makes it unbroken again. Evangelism is outside the building instead of inside. Evangelism is serving instead of being served. Evangelism is real churches with real people serving a real God.
I am convinced, as is Steve Ridgell, that if we get the message right and start spreading it around, some will positively respond. But regardless whether anyone responds or not, we are called to sow the seed. We are called to serve. We are called to be salt and light. And that calling is present tense…we are called to these as long as it is now. And since it is always “now” in our lives, we are called to continually sow, serve, and be.
That is the message of the Gospel.

Posted in Jay's Blog | Leave a comment

Do You REALLY Want Your Congregation to Grow?

Do You REALLY Want your Congregation to Grow?

RiverWalk Church of Christ Wichita Ks  Minister

(Taken from “Five Lies We Like to Tell About Church Growth,” by Dan Hotchkiss)
If I would take a poll of our members, asking them just one question, “Do you want RiverWalk to grow,” rare would be the member who would say, “No.” By far most of the members polled would say something to the effect of, “Of course we do!” But is that truly the case?
Consider what it means to you, the member, if the church really grows.
First, true growth takes away the normal routine of things and replaces it with something that sometimes may feel rather strange and even foreign. There are new people sitting in pews where others used to sit. There are new faces and new names to learn. And these new people bring with them new ideas, perhaps a different religious language, and different points of view on many things. The established members can easily become uneasy because of the new people coming and introducing new ideas, language, and ways of doing things.
Second, the leadership in the church may have to “move over” in some respects to make way for new leaders that will arise out of the newer members. And some volunteer leaders of a ministry may find that newer members have both a better talent and ability for the ministry than they do, as well as the desire to plug into that ministry. If we are going to offer our best to the Lord, and if we are going to use the gifts that God gives us, established members may need to recognize the greater talent and ability of a newer member, step out of the way to make room for those newer members in ministries of service and find other ways to use their own abilities.
Third when a church really grows, there are inevitably new faces and new people that established members haven’t met and don’t know. Or there is the fear that established members have introduced themselves at one time, but can’t remember a new name or face. Fellowship time can be an unsettled time for established members who aren’t good at name recall or face recognition.
If we really understand what church growth brings, we won’t want it in the sense that we necessarily like it or are comfortable with it. Because true church growth brings change, and change brings discomfort, and discomfort brings uncertainty, and uncertainty brings feelings of longing for the “old days.”
The only reason a sane person would want a church to grow is because he believes the church has something of great importance to offer to people. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is that something of great importance, and is the pivotal reason why we would willingly take on discomfort, uncertainty, and uneasiness in order to promote that Gospel.
Some people…but not all…will accept the hard work, sacrifice, inconvenience, and uneasiness that true growth brings. They will accept it because letting others hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ is far more important than any amount of discomfort new members might bring. And they will accept it because Jesus Christ accepted the “cup” that was given to him to be a ransom for many and the propitiation for my sins and your sins…making us adopted sons and daughters of God Himself.

Posted in Jay's Blog | Leave a comment