I’ve been thinking much about the Church these days and read an appropriate quote this morning …
You were cleansed by the same blood, regenerated by the same Spirit. You are a citizen of the same city, a slave of the same master, a reader of the same Scriptures, a worshipper of the same God. The same presence dwells silently in you as in them. Therefore you are committed to them and they to you. They are your brothers, sisters, your fathers, mothers and children. Whether you like or dislike them, you belong to them. You have responsibilities toward them that must be discharged in love. As long as you live on this earth, you are in their debt. Whether they have done much or little for you, Christ has done all. He demands that your indebtedness to Him to be transferred to your new family. – John White
An interesting thought this author brings up. We don’t live trying to pay a debt back to God for the work of Jesus because we can’t, and that turns grace into a sales contract. We live joyfully in the Gospel hungering for more and more grace. But here, this author transfers that sense of “debt” to our responsibility to our new family, the Church. We express love, grace, patience, mercy, compassion, hope, etc to our spiritual siblings as an act of love and worship to God. In other words, if we love God and are grateful for the cross, we will love and honor each other regardless of if we agree with each other on everything or not. That, my friends, builds a “Safe Church.”
Now Safe Church doesn’t mean comfortable, lazy, feel-good church … it means an active, prayerful, evangelistic, missional church. Why? Because when the family provides safety, love and honor, the kids can go out and “play” in the work of the ministry with courage and confidence, knowing God … and their brothers and sisters have their back.
Do you have each others back? Or are you sticking sharp objects in each others back when they aren’t around? I pray for a Safe Church as a Christian because I need brothers and sisters to uphold me and care for my soul. I pray for a Safe Church as a pastor because I need God’s people to trust Him enough that they will trust their hearts and lives to the elders not based merely on agreement over decisions or direction, but based on Gospel acceptance of God’s plan for His Church. I find it interesting that most pastors who leave the ministry do so because of attacks from within not from outside the church. They get hit by “friendly fire” that isn’t so friendly. Tell me you’ve got my back … I’m watching and praying for yours! God grow your Church, and keep us from getting in the way.
Working for your Safety & Courage,