- when someone mentions red and green (in terms of Christmas), you immediately think of a battle over hymnals.
- you think Garrison Keillor’s stories are totally factual.
- you have your wedding reception in the fellowship hall and feel guilty about not staying to help clean up.
- you forget to put water in the baptismal font but never forget to put water in the coffee pot.
- in response to someone jumping up and shouting “Praise the Lord!”, you politely remind him or her that we don’t do that around here.
- you carry silverware in your pocket to church just in case there’s a potluck.
- you tap a church visitor on the shoulder and say, “excuse me, but you’re in my seat.”
“So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,…” Acts 2:46
So I go to bible class after early service today. Since Julie and Hillary are up in Ohio, I figure I’ll sit on the opposite side of the room, since I wanted to sit with some friends. As luck would have it, I got there before they did.
Three of them – each without hearing the others – told me (jokingly) that I was sitting in the wrong seat. It was very hurtful! *sniff* Thank you, Jackie. And company (Kelsey). I don’t blame Jackie’s husband too much; he had two glazed donuts and was well on his way to a sugar high. Not really responsible for his actions.
The class then began, the subject of which was spiritual gifts. Part of the discussion revolved around church involvement in the area, outreach, and living your life in The Way, as the very first believers did.
That led to more discussion about why some churches die. I wanted to say it had to do seating arrangements, but let it go.
But that may not be too far from the truth. Are visitors welcomed as I was when I first came to my church? Or are they informed they are in the wrong pew or “we don’t do that here!” We each had stories about people we’ve known who were serious when they told someone they were “sitting in MY seat!” There was a virtually war between two prominent families at my old church over the front right pew directly below the pulpit. They eventually had an uneasy truce with one family owning one end of that pew and the other family staking their claim at the opposite end.
The class leader, Justin, made an interesting observation; the first followers of The Way were likely the only brief time in history when communism was done correctly! “They sold all their possessions and had everything in common.”
How does a church grow? By remaining steadily and consistently in God’s Word. By taking His Word and keeping it in the fronts of our minds, we will almost automatically behave in Christian ways. Our action, both large and small, will call out to people who see us. They’ll know something is different with us, even if they aren’t sure what it is.
Read your Bible daily, whether selected verses or just going through it like any other book. Make a prayer list of those people you know – well or not – who need God’s help. Physically or spiritually. Focusing on others’ needs actually have the effect of filling our own!
And if someone is sitting in your pew… introduce yourself, and ask if you can sit next to them.
Thanks, ladies, for inspiring today’s post!