There are two things I would like our church members to have: natural spirituality and a serving lifestyle that isn’t dependent on programs.
For these things to happen the church needs to be accepting. I’ve heard of churches that fire staff members when they receive poor yearly reviews. I’ve also heard of house churches being disbanded when they do not multiply within a certain time period. I think this is wrong. The church must be a healing community as well as a mission community. The church should be a place where even the less competent feel at home. Churches should be careful when hiring staff members, but once they are hired and become members of the church, they should not be fired unless they commit sins that are clearly stated in the Bible or are insistent in doing something harmful to the church. House churches should not be disbanded as long as their members want to remain together.
It is important to do God’s ministry well, but we should be careful not to make efficiency the most important thing in ministry. That kind of attitude will make a church like a military organization or corporation.
The atmosphere of the church should be one of acceptance. There should be room for individuals to make mistakes and learn from them. Our faith and zeal has both up and down cycles. We should not be too alarmed when someone seems to be backsliding but patiently wait in prayer for the person to recover. We should not expect perfection all the time. We should accept the fact that sermons can be good at times and not so good at others. That worship services are great sometimes, other times not so great. This is what I mean by “accepting”. Trying to be the best and be completely perfect all the time in ministry would make the environment too uptight. One reason that I try to not over train church leaders or demand thorough reports is to avoid an overly demanding environment.
To be accepting doesn’t mean doing the Lord’s work carelessly. Serving the Lord is a privilege that should not be taken lightly. But commitment must come from within. If someone is forced to serve he will not last. This is the reason I don’t require our staff members to, for example, pray for 3 hours every morning. If they do, I want them to feel the need for it themselves and do it voluntarily. We should be unforgiving to ourselves but forgiving to others. We should strive to become like Jesus but learn to accept those who are further away. We should give our utmost to do our ministry well but accept those who don’t. When we do that, spirituality and service become not a program or a project but an everyday lifestyle.
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