This morning I want to jot down some thoughts on the three bridges we are trying to build at The Shepherd’s Fellowship (the church I pastor). However, let me first say I am not looking at building bridges with wood and nails but with love and truth.
You see, there are many people who have disconnected from church or were never connected in the first place. However, I am of a firm belief that the community of Christ is open to all and can bring freedom and love into hurting situations.
Here’s the three bridges we are trying to build….
A bridge to those who do not know Christ:
Many have not experienced a life changing experience with Jesus Christ. Often times because the people they know to have had one, don’t seem all that changed. We are striving to enjoy and exercise the life of Christ in a way that models what others can have through His mercy and grace.
A bridge to Christians who are outside of church:
There are those who want to follow Jesus but have nothing to do with church. The problem is…. this does not exist Biblicaly. Paul is clear in his instruction to not give up meeting together (which applies that at times we want to). The Scripture is packed with instruction to work together, encourage each other, spur each other on, and be in unity with one another. We are not called into the family of God to be orphans.
Often this happens for the same reason as above, things they have seen or experienced in church. The simple fact is, the church is made up by imperfect people and will stumble. The church as a whole does have challenges. However, when you plug in and people strive to love God and love each other, it’s a beautiful experience that God’s desires for us. We strive to grow in this area and model it better during the tough days and the good.
A bridge to Christians who are spiritually starving:
I continue to come across people who are plugged into a church but are spiritually dying because of lack of nourishment. This could be caused by the church not being Biblicaly right, a pastor who is off base, or just simply the wrong environment for that person’s needs with no fault to anyone.
I know at our church, if a person is not clicking with the Fellowship, I am more than happy to help them connect elsewhere. Sadly, this is not always the case for other church leaders.
That’s not to say it’s all on the pastor to facilitate a change for someone who is spiritually starving. They might not even be aware. That said, I do find that many who are starving stay in the wrong environments for multiple reasons including extended family being there, time commitments made to the church, being someplace for the kids, or not liking change. All of these are understandable but not worthy of doing whatever it takes for your spiritual health, your family’s spiritual health and going where God leads.
If you are reading this and are spiritually starving then this is a time of communication, prayer, and seeking. It’s too important to put off in an effort of not rocking the boat.
For those who come to the Fellowship and find a home, we celebrate. For those who come and need something else, we mourn the loss of their presence but celebrate helping them getting connected elsewhere.
“He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. Luke 6: 48