A friend of mine wrote her feelings about sitting in church week after week with very little awareness from others and recently has not been able to attend and …not one call from any of the attenders, or the pastor. I have written my response to her letter as follows.
Being invisible to others in church makes one wonder who are these people who attend and have no awareness of the needs of those who sit silently hurting in the pews?
Are we not called to a higher purpose to reach out to those who come into our midst, welcoming them into our arms, helping to support, encourage, pray and carry one another’s burdens?
The words I read, were written from a woman who has lived the rejection of church people. She is not alone in this perspective, for I hear it many times. What a testimony in being the church, that the very people God is bringing into our midst, are being rejected by us, the church of Christ.
I think sometimes, it is more about who you know, and it is them that you reach out to, and it becomes what is known in the world as a ‘clique’, and they exist inside of the church.
We have to be careful of church ‘cliques’ as they are real, and they cause others to feel rejected by not being accepted into the ‘clique’ or not being able to do the ‘things’ the ‘clique’ do with each other as the ‘group’ does business as usual.
Church is not for doing ‘business’ as usual, for with Christ, we the people, who are the broader ‘church’ need to be available, need to reach out, need to be open hearts for the hurting people that come to find what they are missing; truth, love, acceptance and the fullness of life in Christ that is available to all.
We need to drop our own self absorbance, our own selfish desires, our own needs to belong, and give of ourselves to the Christ that has called us to love others and to serve by Glorifying Him, not ourselves. This means giving of ourselves to others.
The call of Christ to Christians is to service. Service requires a dying to the self. This is a lifelong process and will continue to be so until He calls us to our eternal home and we hear: “Well done my faithful servant.”
We all need to search our own hearts and ask ourselves, are we making ourselves available to others? Are we being sensitive to others? Are we welcoming others? Are we noticing others? Are we walking the narrow path of Faith in being followers of Jesus? Are we seeking Him in all we do? Are we listening to His voice? Are we being true to our words, following through on what we say we will do? Are we putting others before ourselves? Are we acting and behaving like believers of the most High God?
Then we need to ask ourselves, “What is Jesus calling me to do?” Than we need to listen to His voice, take the actions he directs us in living towards full obedience in serving Him, no matter where we are, inside, or outside of the ‘church’ building.
We are voices for the voiceless, champions for the oppressed, lights in the darkness, and vessels to be filled with God’s Holiness, Love, Mercy, Forgiveness, and Truth. Not to be hidden, but to be shared with everyone we interact with.
We must come to the place where we say: “Not my will, but yours Oh Lord.” Where he calls us, He will equip us and fill us with Him giving us the ability to walk in the good works that He has prepared for us to do.
The Christian life is about Serving in Obedience to Him in all we do: in our relationships, our activities, our time, our resources, our jobs, volunteer work, our finances, our possessions, in our thoughts, our minds, our hearts, in our words, in the commitments we take on, in fellowship with one another, and in each day we live.
We, who are the church, need to Wake Up to the Call God has on our lives, and become Real, touching the wall of humanity whose hearts scream out for a compassionate understanding person to connect with.
Let us no longer dwell in the darkness, but shine God Hearts as people of light. Let us live the Truth and show forth God’s love in our actions, behaviors, and words unto those hurting, struggling, searching for Love. Let us live our lives in Obedience in serving the Christ that has given us New Life, and touch others with His Life through us as His people, expressive of Who He is!
In obedience, we are to be the Welcoming Arms of Christ, which begins when he brings others into our midst, and continues as we walk with them, encouraging, supporting, teaching the foundational basis of Faith and spurring them on towards spiritual growth and maturity, as we walk hand in hand, in His Love.
We all have work to do in His Kingdom. Let us be about our Father’s business, focused on those things He has called us to do, and not be so busy we fail to fulfil those works.
When we make real application of biblical principles and incorporate them into our lives, by allowing His Spirit Reign in every area, of our lives, we are then fulfilling our mission as Christians to:
“Love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, and minds, and love our neighbors as we love ourselves.”
Then we can come to the place where we know:
“It is no longer I that live, but it is He that lives in me!”
Lorraine Taylor – Lay Minister
We are called to Love, Everyone, not just those we deem ‘spiritual’, not just those who are leaders, not just those we align with, but EVERYONE in our midst! There is no spiritual hierarchy in God’s Kingdom. We all have roles to fill, we all have a purpose, we all have value and worth.
A Pastor, teacher, leader, elder, deacon, is no greater in God’s Realm than anyone else. No one is above another. We all serve as God’s children and He Loves us all with the same unmerited Love, not conditional on what we do or do not do. God’s Love is unlike man’s love that is biased and not free from judgements.
The difference in roles regarding leadership in the church is that each person has varying levels of authority of power given their ‘title’, but they are all in submission to God and to each other as they belong to the same body, functioning in different gifts as God has given to the body in order to work together for the Glory of the Kingdom in furthering Godly ministry.
It is a sad fact that ‘cliques’ live in the church, which only divides, only seeks one way, only accepts ‘conditionally’, only remains among themselves, the ‘insiders’. I ask myself… and anyone reading this to search our hearts and see where we are missing the boat on what it means to truly Love as Christ has Loved us.
Not one of us has arrived in perfection, but are on a continual journey of becoming more like Jesus in our hearts, day by day, submitting to His Ways, His voice, His Image.
Not one of us knows how to Love perfectly. Not one of us has it all figured out.
So, until that day we are ushered in to our Heavenly Dwelling place, we are to BE the Church, the Body of Christ to ALL we encounter, not snubbing, not ignoring, not dismissing, not rejecting, but reaching out to ALL in our midst, especially within a local institutional church.
I cannot express how many members of churches feel distanced, feel isolated, feel separated from this ‘inside clique’, feeling rejected, feeling not accepted, feeling not included, feeling like an ‘outsider’.
Should this be so? Let us ask God what each one of us can do to make a difference in the lives of those who are in our midst and who are in our lives to help in building social bonding and connections in and through the Love of Christ who resides in us!
We each need to search our hearts before our Father God and ask Him who we are neglecting in our midst and how can we be better servants, more compassionate, more understanding, showing our empathy and Love?
Although this pertains especially to those professing to be leaders (as members will tend to be followers of those who lead – so what example are we setting up?) or pastors, we All need to be participators of loving in real, practical concrete ways.