Last night, I had the pleasure of joining my Dad to a Sportsman's Dinner, hosted by a local church in the area... one with quite a large footprint in the community doing great ministry. The dinner was phenomenal and they had a great turnout. There was one "process", for lack of a better word, that we were a little disappointed with as far as the raffles were concerned, but that aside, it was a great night.
The guest was pretty cool, though. A MLB player from the 60's came and talked his experience. That was slick.... with some back-stories, that you'd never hear second-hand as well as some great insights, as the season is just beginning.
So what's this have to do with #effectiveSunday? Nothing. Except towards the end of the night, when the Senior Pastor shared a few thoughts after the guest player was done; and the pastor's opening comment was a response to some of the choice words used by the player during his spotlight-moment. I don't know the man's state of heart in relation to God, perhaps he's saved and it was just "one of those things". Perhaps he's not. It wasn't obscene...but it dawned on me just how quick, that either 1) a Christian could take issue with some of his words spoken at an outreach event held in the church building or 2) those visiting, non-Christians, who aren't sure how to handle it. Perhaps not offended by it directly, but curious why it happened and thus, turned off to the church, as a result. Maybe not entirely, but enough to second guess.
To the pastors' credit, his response was light-hearted and jovial. He only shared for a few minutes a portion of his experience between ministry and real life, essentially what we pray for every day. Pastors struggle just like the rest of us and it's just as heavy-duty at times. As he closed, many guys raised their hands, acknowledging their desire to be remembered in prayer as they are facing things in life that require them to look to God and trust in Him... perhaps more than ever before; perhaps for the very first time.
Whatever the case may be, it was an interesting follow-up to #communitySaturday, regarding double-standards. That's the thing with Christianity and real life. You never know, in the balancing act of the two, what will trigger someone towards or away from the things of God and being in right relationship with Him. Perhaps, even balancing act is an odd phrase... as if you have one foot in each world. Which doesn't work, by the way. But the Son of God came to earth, and lived life as we do. Real God. Real Life. Quite simply it is possible to point people to God, through our lives. Yet, even Jesus prompted responses which were far different from people returning to God.
It bears repeating...
We can't walk on eggshells, but we can walk in ways that are more reflective of Christ Himself and less of the person proclaiming to follow Christ.
So... pray this #effectiveSunday, that the church would not be hindered in it's ability to impact lives for God, because of deeds and words that trigger someone to turn away from God or at least hesitate to turn to Him in the first place. Pray for a level of grace, that people would understand that while we serve and celebrate a loving and perfect God, we ourselves are not perfect... nor are we automatically loving. Pray that the spirit of offense does not get the best of people... both for the believer and those yet to believe. Pray that, much like one bad review doesn't discount the quality of a product or service, that people would not be so quick to dismiss Christianity, the importance of the church or the necessity for salvation and a relationship with Jesus Christ.
In this day and age, the church must rely all the more on God working the miraculous as the church wisely utilizes it's resources to impact the community for the cause of Christ. For the glory of God.
Just a man, attempting to fulfill God's plan. Husband, Dad, Dreamer. Blogger.