This post makes more sense if you take into account that the name of this blog used to be, “The Church Agitator.” God moves us to different places as we grow. I’m in a different place now than I was then. There’s a story behind that if you want to read it.
Pardon my continued internal dialogue, I’m still kind of figuring out how this all fleshes out without giving the appearance of wanting to throw the Church under the bus. I’m really shouting at myself here, but it’s okay to eavesdrop.
Can I say this again? I love the Church, big “C,” the worldwide movement that includes Catholics and Protestants together, the one he made to be a light in this world. I seriously love it. I’m just gonna keep saying that in hope that the negative stuff I say doesn’t come across as a proposal for dismantling it.
I want to bring a sense of community to people who are restless in their churches for righteous, God-given reasons. I want to encourage them to push things, because that’s needed. Like the human body, the body of the Church needs to keep moving or it doesn’t stay healthy.
This is a very recent thing in my life, something that I don’t fully understand myself. I’m working it out for me, so hopefully thinking out loud may help someone else who may be hearing things like, “Don’t make waves.” “Don’t question God’s leaders.” “This isn’t open for discussion.”
Listen, though: if you’re going to ask tough questions of your church leadership, you need to be personally invested in seeing them through. I don’t advocate change for the sake of change. If you’re going to approach someone and say, “I think that’s wrong,” there better be more words in that sentence. Something like, “I think that’s wrong because the Bible says this,” or “I think that’s wrong because our church is dying and you keep doing the same thing.” Those are good things to say. But even that doesn’t need to be the end of the statement. Causing problems isn’t helping the body be healthy. Looking for a solution and being a part of staying with it should be the objective.
Don’t just get mad and leave. My last blog discussed that. If you’re going to be a part of positive change, sometimes you’re going to have to endure a little negative. Don’t expect people to just immediately agree with you. Maybe God DID really give you a good word, but people need time to think it over. Big ideas take time. Be patient with your brothers and sisters, and if you really believe in the power of your idea, don’t give up when you hit opposition. Listen to them, because you probably aren’t 100% right 100% of the time. The world needs more listeners.
We’re not talking about complaining here. We’re talking about agitating. The difference is basically this: if you’re complaining, you’re stating a problem and saying, “so there, fix it.” If you’re agitating, you’re in the problem WITH your brothers and sisters, fervently focused on finding a way through together. Do you know what the agitator is on a washing machine? It’s that thing in the middle that keeps the clothes moving while the cycle is running. It’s smack dab in the middle of everything, surrounded by things that wouldn’t be moving otherwise. That’s where you ought to be.
Let me say it again, really for my own benefit: be patient with others. We’re on the same side. You don’t have enemies if you’re in the body of Christ, you have allies who don’t understand your point of view yet.
Love. Your. Church. Love the people in it. Love them more than your need to be right, and see that they have value. They are a temple of the Holy Spirit just the same as you, no matter how listless you think they’ve become. Love them.