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Insignificantly Significant

When my Grandmother was up in years, she also stayed “up” on ministry—serving others, that is. If you walked into the church where she served, you wouldn’t see a plaque on the wall in her honor. You wouldn’t see her name displayed in the bulletin. You would think she played an insignificant role in the significant mission of the church. But you would be wrong.

Every week my Grandmother gathered with others for the grand work of stuffing the bulletin. If you’re unfamiliar with that role of prominence, then ask yourself the next time you’re in a church service, I wonder how that welcome card and other flyers got in the bulletin now in my possession? Many of the notable contributions in life are recognized only when they are missing.

When my Grandmother was diagnosed with cancer and became home bound, she shifted from the ministry of bulletins to the ministry of prayer. She would work her way through the church directory on a weekly basis and call people to ask how she could pray for them, and then she would . . . right there on the phone.

The reason I share these fond memories with you is because I want you to see how indispensable every person is in the Body of Christ. We all have a role to fill, a ministry to serve, and a task to complete. And without you fulfilling your charge, the grander charge of the overall mission of the church will suffer.

As Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in Life Together,

“In a Christian community everything depends upon whether each individual is an indispensable link in a chain. Only when even the smallest link is securely interlocked is the chain unbreakable. A community, which allows unemployed members to exist within it, will perish because of them. It will be well, therefore, if every member receives a definite task to perform for the community, that he may know in hours of doubt that he, too, is not useless and unusable. Every Christian community must realize that not only do the weak need the strong, but also that the strong cannot exist without the weak. The elimination of the weak is the death of fellowship” (Life Together, 94).

In the world’s eyes, my Grandmother was weak, but through the weakest among us, we discover our strength. “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). We need one another, and we all need to be “employed” in “a definite task to perform for the community.” No one is useless and unusable. The Apostle Paul said it best: “On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensible” (1 Corinthians 12:22).

Hear me in this: YOU are wanted. YOU are needed. Your Christian community depends upon even the smallest link being securely interlocked so that the chain is unbreakable. Too many churches are breaking and perishing, because we leave the ministry to the “professionals” who are more than happy to receive accolades for a job well done. But a job well done is praise given ultimately by the Master for faithfulness in the little things as well as the so-called “grand” (Luke 19:17).

Like my Grandmother, is it time for you to be “up” on ministry as well?

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

Practicing Civility in an Uncivil Society

I don’t know about you, but I have a growing concern for the lack of civility in our civilization. Do you ever tire of political rants, media tirades, and the exhausting pontifications of celebrities who have somehow become experts in political philosophy?

In Breakpoint, a weekly update from the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, John Stonestreet describes Madonna fantasizing about blowing up the White House and Kathy Griffin displaying a likeness of President Trump’s severed head. Protests at UC Berkeley, Evergreen State and Middlebury colleges erupt into violence and the destruction of property.

Thankfully, people on both sides of the political aisle are beginning to call this out. Frank Bruni, who is about as far left as one can be, writes in the New York Times that “we’re in a dangerous place when it comes to how we view, treat and talk about people we disagree with… What has happened to our discourse, and how do we make necessary progress—when hate is answered by hate, prejudice by prejudice, extremism begets extremism and ostensible liberalism practices illiberalism?”

Those are good questions. And the answer is that progress will never be made until we learn to speak with one another again.

Followers of Jesus should lead the way. As Stonestreet says, “[We need] to see those around us as fellow creations of God in need of reconciliation and restoration, not as enemy combatants… We must never stop proclaiming the truth and getting better ourselves at making the case for that which is true, good and beautiful. And we ourselves have to demonstrate civility, the willingness to talk instead of fight, even if our ideological opponents disagree.”

The Bible also gives us some pretty sound advice: “Let us hold fast our confession” (Hebrews 4:14). “Speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9).

Jesus laid the groundwork for all who follow when he said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28).

And sometimes, the best course of action is this: “Therefore let your words be few” (Ecclesiastes 5:2), which includes, by the way, Facebook, Twitter, emails, and texts.

And now I’m going to lead by example… and stop typing. Silence is golden. Shhh.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

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