How does the general public or your own congregation refer to the church where you serve? Is it God’s church? Or Pastor So-and-So’s church?
Michael Edgar Myers · October 10, 2017
Before addressing Christians’ relations with those outside the church, we must do, what my mother called, “home training,” by exploring how we interact with our church family and within ourselves.
We must embrace Jesus’ reminder that “a house divided among itself cannot stand,” by reflecting which of the following scenarios below may occur in ministry meetings, small groups, prayer circles, sanctuary pews, in email or all of the above.
These ideas are designed for self-evaluation in thought and behavior.
1. Take Inventory: Whose Ministry Is It, Anyway?
The greatest conflicts within a church occur when change is considered. Budget cuts, new technology, downsizing, reassigned staff … all have potential negative impact. Protectionism and perceptions kick in. We become protective of the place we’re serving.
Take inventory: Have you ever used the phrase “my ministry?” Has “your ministry” come up in an email conversation? When a worship presenter has a style of clothing you dislike, how do you respond? What are the things in your building that get your choir robe in a bunch? Brainstorm a list and ask why this is bothersome.
How does the general public or your own congregation refer to the church where you serve? Is it God’s church? Or Pastor So-and-So’s church? Any of these ideas seem familiar? None? Brainstorm what gets your choir robe in a bunch. Either way, check your altar ego at the door.
2. Laugh At Yourself, Because Others Probably Already Are
Christians are often most humorless (rather find humor less) when teased by nonbelievers. “They’re making fun of God,” we say. However, be honest: Are they making fun of Christians, or are they making fun of the behavior of people who say they are Christians, but whose behavior is not like Christ? Consider, for example, Dana Carvey’s popular “Church Lady” from Saturday Night Live. Carvey says The Church Lady was based on women he knew in the church where he was reared: Their dress, their mannerisms, even her catch phrase, “Isn’t that special?” Similarly, viewing “Rev. Lovejoy” on “The Simpsons” or any number of preachers portrayed by Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Brown you’ll see a semblance of accuracy in the rhythms and intonations.
What is truth? Sometimes painful.
3. Laugh At Yourself So Others Laugh With You
Author George Bernard Shaw opined, “When you find a thing funny, look for a hidden truth.” “Truthiness” in humor, as talk show host Stephen Colbert says, is a reason jesters, political cartoonists, satirical writers are popular – and sometimes dangerous.