Giving Pause for Thought

?When you come together, everybody has a hymn, or a word of instruction … all of these must be done for the strengthening of the church? (1 Corinthians 14:26).
Let me relate two incidents dealing with the organizing of church activities.
I was the visiting preacher in a congregation when several young families approached me in some frustration. ?This congregation never organizes any church functions. We want fellowship activities ? softball games, picnics, get togethers.?
I looked at the group before me, adults in their thirties and forties. I looked at the two elders, venerable leaders well into their seventies. I wondered how these men were expected to organize a softball game on a hot summer?s eve. And I wondered why these young adults, professionals in their jobs, leaders in their communities, accustomed to making decisions for their own families, couldn?t organize a ball game all by themselves. That?s what I urged them to do. ?Take the initiative,? I told them. ?Plan these activities yourself, and allow the shepherds to shepherd.?
The message: Don?t be a critic. Be a catalyst.
The second incident took place when a couple came to me and said: ?There aren?t any activities in this church.? (This wasn?t entirely true, but that?s another matter). ?Why don?t we do any fellowship activities??
I gave them the standard preacher?s response. ?If you think we should have more activities, why don?t you organize one??
Sure enough, within a week, the whole church received flyers for a ?Church dance?. Down in the church fellowship room. Please allow me to be kind, but plain: this was an activity that promised to be hurtful and divisive. Would we ?upset? the organizers and cancel the function, or hurt others who felt this was not a wholesome church activity? Now the wife was a relatively new Christian, and might not have known ?the score?, but the husband had ?grown up in the church?, and his Daddy was an elder in the church in another city. He had to know better.
Of course I had to be the ?bad guy? and cancel the get-together.
The message: When you take the initiative, do it responsibly.
Understand the effect of your actions on the church as a whole. Do it with an eye to edifying all. The church is composed of precious, vulnerable, eternal souls. A mark of the maturing Christian is the ability to see how our actions affect those around us, and whether it builds the church as a whole.
Read Philippians 2:1-4. ?Make my love complete …?

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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