Monday, November 19, 2007

Getting Plugged In

I have to say that church leaders are often pretty lousy at giving advice to new members, and even old ones, on how to get "plugged-in" at their local church. Usually, the advice is to seek out some area of ministry and start serving there. In my opinion, this generally leads to profound guilt in the listener because: a) They don't know where to start looking and b) they have no idea what they want to do. This problem is especially bad in smaller churches because many ministries are already running quite well, and even if they aren't, the over-worked people in them are amazingly incapable of accepting help. In the end, the pew-sitter may wind up slinking off to another church that will grant them blessed anonymity and better music.

Instead of telling people to simply serve, why don't we encourage them to simply build relationships with those in the church. That's much more fun and gratifying, and it is much more Biblical. Teaching disciples to love one another is how the world will know that we are Christ's, not if we teach them to simply 'work'. If you are new to a church, make an effort to get together with another family for lunch after church. Begin cultivating true friendships that will lead to accountability. The upshot of this is that after making such friendships, one will inevitably be drawn into the ministry network of one's friends. Even if it doesn't, trying to make friends, and even being a friend, is a very needful ministry in itself. Indeed, it may be the must needed one of all. So make friends at church. Invite people over to eat popcorn and watch football or whatever. It'll make a healthier church if you do.


Julie said...

This was good for me to hear. My husband was hired at a new church in September and I've been finding it difficult to get 'plugged in'. Changing my focus to making some friends sounds good.

Anonymous said...

There are times when it is time to move on. Sometimes the members who are working are unwilling to allow new members to help(which by the way is discipleship)causing the new member to maybe become discouraged. They shouldn't, but many times do.
Do you not find Sojourner that many members that have maybe been there for years want their church to grow as long as it grows like they do.
"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, "Blessed is HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!" Matthew23:37-39
I believe there may come a time when some may need to kick the dust off their feet and move on.
Traditions in many of our churches have taken the place of God's Holy Word.
"Whoever does not recieve you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet." Matthew 10:14
To the members who believe it is time to move on--make sure God is leading you. If you are God's child when He speaks --you know it is God and you know what He is saying. If your church leaders are giving lousy advice to new members maybe you need new church leaders.
God does not give lousy advice.

Anonymous said...

WOW - You are so right - many times we don't give folks a chance to use the gifts that God has given them...because we have been "doing" for so long...Thank you for this....I know a couple right now that needs a bowl of popcorn....

Love you...

Marsha A