For the past week or so, I've had a serious case of writer’s block. Well, not writer’s block exactly. I've been able to put pen-to-paper, but the things that I've been writing haven’t had the voice that I'm used to writing with. They've had a harsh, judgmental, preachy tone that I despise, and when I've gone back and read what I've written, I’m shocked at the way I’ve expressed myself.
That kind of tone is not okay - it’s the exact opposite of everything that I (and this blog) stand for.
In contrast to how I've been writing lately, I have a couple of friends that have been on Facebook intentionally sharing only #PositivePosts. They are sharing everything from videos of cuddly little kittens to words of praise for people in their lives who aren't often recognized - but each post is encouraging and uplifting.
I've been sitting back and watching them do this all week, and it finally hit me that this was the answer to fixing my bad attitude.
I needed to join the #PositivePosts party.
So I present to you: 7 Things the Church is Doing Right.
Obviously, I can’t speak for every individual local church in the world, but from what I can see of Christ’s followers today, we are doing some incredible things.
1. We’re Worshiping the Same God
Whether we worship in a Lutheran church, Baptist church, Catholic church, or Nazarene church, we are drawing closer together as a body of believers. We are growing more and more aware that, even though our worship styles can vary and particular doctrines may be different, we’re all following the same Father.
We are increasingly embracing our differences as a mark of beauty rather than seeing them as a blemish of the faith.
Let’s continue to praise the one who made us all.
2. We’re Praying for One Another
I love that when people are willing to share their struggles on Facebook, Christians are able to surround them in communal prayer in a way that was never possible before social media.
Just this week, a relative of mine went through a battery of tests because doctors were worried she might have cancer. Through this emotional roller-coaster, it was amazing to see how many people were on their knees praying for her - often people she didn't even know!
Let’s continue to join together in prayer.
3. We’re Using Our Diverse Talents
Accountants, handymen, and other volunteers have long been the backbone of the local church, but we are seeing more and more people bringing their gifts to the altar of God. Artists, craftsmen, musicians, designers - people of all industries and walks of life are finding that God has a place for their talents at his table, and they are working to create a magnificent tapestry of praise to our Father.
We, as a Church, are learning to embrace the gifts that he has given us and use them for his glory. It’s a beautiful picture.
Let’s continue to be seek ways to share our gifts with the people around us.
4. We’re Abandoning Non-Issues
As recently as a decade ago, it was common for local churches to split up over stupid things like the color of the carpet or the style of chairs (pews!) that should be installed in the sanctuary. There was also a generational divide between the style of music that should be used in worshiping our Father - a divide that caused a huge rift in many churches.
We seem to have largely (although surely not entirely) matured to the point where we aren't allowing such trivial issues to divide us. We are striving to understand and appreciate diverse opinions, as it is precisely these differing perspectives that help us grow as Christians.
Let’s continue to focus on the things that draw us together rather than those that divide us.
5. We’re Generous With Our Offerings
The youth group at my local church has spent the last year working tirelessly to raise money so several teens can attend a once-in-a-lifetime (expensive) national youth conference this summer. Not all of the funds raised have been given by church members, but certainly most of them have. Because of the generosity of our local body, the teens have the trip almost entirely funded, which is incredible. On top of that, though, while the church has been supporting this trip, they've also been raising money for several members of our congregation to go on an international mission trip, and they've additionally been giving a substantial amount of money to ongoing international missions.
All of this giving has been on top of their regular tithe. Our local church is a shining example of the generosity of the church today.
Let’s continue giving to fund ministry locally, regionally, and globally.
6. We’re Impacting Our Communities
Beyond simple financial giving, we are making an impact in our communities. I love to hear stories about what’s going on in places like New Beginnings Church because it demonstrate to me that we remember what it means to be little-Christs as we engage with the people around us.
We are building real relationships with people and encouraging them (and ourselves) to grow in faith. Our concept of church is evolving from being a meeting place to being a community of faith that is authentically involved in making a positive impact in our world.
Let’s continue reaching beyond the walls of our building and into the lives of our communities.
7. We’re Learning From Our Mistakes
We the Church are full of flaws. Throughout history we've made horrible, sometimes unforgivable mistakes that have cast dark shadows on our faith and our God. But we are learning from those mistakes.
We’re learning what it means to love instead of judge. The errors of our fathers and of our fathers’ fathers have taught us that all people deserve compassion and respect, and that we can’t know their heart by examining their flesh.
We’re finding that the black-and-white answers we've held on to so dearly are nothing more than mirages in a desert. The real source of life isn't found in hollow interpretations and arguments - it’s found in our common faith, our Lord and our God.
Let’s continue examining our past in order to preserve a more Christ-like tomorrow.
What positives do you see in the church that I missed? Post them in the comments below and keep this #PositivePosts party going!