I waited a long time to post this because I wanted the situation to be far removed so no one could figure out who this happened with.
But alas, I cannot contain it anymore…
My family and I were at a religious function recently. Mostly Christians were there, but the people weren’t all from the same local church. We had a good time. I love the Body of Christ.
As we left, we began to talk to a gentlemen and thank him for his service that he was doing that day. He looked back at us and asked, “Where do you guys go to church?”
“We go to North Side.”
“Oh. Well, you should really try out ________________ some time. You hadn’t heard preaching until you hear our pastor preach.”
“Hmmm. That sounds good. I’ll ask my boss if I can get off work at North Side this Sunday and check your church out.”
Silence. Blank stare. And then we all went our own way towards our own local churches.
Brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, we are on the same team! We are not in competition with each other. When the Body of Christ has parts that compete with one another, it distorts the image of Jesus for our world.
I believe that guy would have asked me to come to his church if we replied we didn’t attend anywhere, but why couldn’t he rejoice that we were involved in a sister church? Why couldn’t he respond with something positive about my church versus trying to entice me to the other side?
As we walked away, I didn’t say a word. As I walked with Obadiah hand in hand, Amanda said, “That might be one of the saddest things I have ever heard.” As the Body of Christ has been called to seek and to save the lost, too often we are found trying to lure other members.
I think what blew me away was that, literally hours before, I had been working getting paid by my church doing something to help out his specific congregation. Just that week, someone had told me they went to that specific congregation, and I began to rave about the great things going on there.
It’s got to stop. If you love the Body of Christ and the Church with a big “C,” here’s some ways to respond to probable conversations with people of other households of faith:
- When I meet someone who goes to a different congregation, I normally encourage them with something I have heard great about their church, their pastor, or a member at that church.
- When someone says they are thinking about leaving their church and coming to ours, I tell them to work it out because they are family and families are supposed to stick together (plus, if they are leaving churches because they are disappointed with something, it won’t be too long until they are disappointed with us. History repeats itself).
- When someone comments about positive stuff at our church compared to negative stuff at their church, I take the focus off of our church and put it back on theirs to highlight something positive.
- When someone downs their pastor to me, I talk about how hard that job is and how that person should pray and support their pastor.
If you are a North Sider and you are reading this right now, pray for and love our church, but also lift up, respect, and esteem other local churches.
If you are a brother or sister from another local church and read this blog (thanks by the way), your church is amazing and has all the potential in the world to impact your community. There is not another church like you. Know we are on the same team.
Let’s stop luring members away. Let’s stop reinventing the ministry wheel when a sister church already has a dynamic ministry in a specific arena. Let’s stop having competing events.
There is more than enough field to harvest for all of us. Just in Greenwood, all of our church buildings together could not contain the amount of lost people in need of a Savior in this community. So let’s huddle up, realize we are not competing with each other, and let’s do what the Church is supposed to do – seek and save the lost.