Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pastoral Groaning & Church Commitment

Does your pastor groan when he thinks of you? is a question that this article asks of church attenders. It is a question based upon Hebrews 13:17.
"Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you."
The main bulk of the article is about commitment to your local church:
It is not uncommon for me to counsel someone who has a low-committment to their local church. This kind of “low view of the local church” invites sin into their lives. Paul wrote most of his letters to local churches. His appeals for sanctification were not primarily to individuals, but to local churches. You can draw an accurate assumption from Paul’s writings that Christians belonged to and were committed to a local church. That is simply not true in our day.
If you attend a local church, but do not belong to a local church, then I appeal to you to determine if your current church is for you and, if so, then I appeal to you to fully commit to your church. One of the ways you can do this is by allowing them to care for you with joy. I used to be a pastor and I found it particularly challenging when the occasional person came to our church, who would not commit to our church. I considered it analogous to a divorced dad trying to parent his children every other weekend. Even if he wanted to parent his kids every other weekend, it was not feasible for him to pull it off successfully.
Low or no commitment to a local church can also be likened to a man who cuts his leg from his body while assuming it will survive. While we understand this kind of physical self-injury to be abnormal, some Christians do not see anything wrong with their spiritual disconnectedness from their local church.

The blog post goes on warn against being a free radical and encourage people to serve in the church. Read the rest. It encourages people to serve in the church and approach the pastor as one who is to aid and help rather than to be the cause or source of his groaning.

It strikes me that often people want to feel loved in the church but they are unwilling to do the hard work of loving others. We love to love when it makes us feel good, but when we have to do the hard work of serving others, then we don't like it so much. Christian love is manifest in sacrificing for other people. Far too often we all demand that everybody sacrifice for us but we recoil at the idea that we should be sacrificing our rights, our attitudes and our privileges for the sake of the body of Christ. The gospel, where Jesus sacrifices for us, becomes the model and paradigm for Christian love. This is why Jesus said that those who would be the greatest among you shall be the least--the servant.

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