Can’t we all just get along! This expresses how I feel so many times when I read what people write about the church and others get their two cents worth in how they think. I am all for a free thinking society, but we cannot lose sight of where the real battle lies. Neil Cole in the below suggested article uses the words “friendly fire“, to which I would suggest is not so friendly when the body of Christ begins to criticize one another.
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-7
I was sharing about this verse just this morning with our “yes” simple / organic church. Why is it that many in the body are not able to accept that there are more ways than their way or the way they have always done it. Here Paul says there are variety of gifts, variety of ministries and variety of effects; but one and the same Spirit that works all these things for our common good. So why be critical about what God is doing with others that is different from what He is doing with us. Why not rejoice that Christ is exalted and the gospel is preached?
Here is a thought or encouragement. In my experience having been a part of both the traditional and organic church movement:
1. those who are leaders normally go through a period of insecurity. When God shows you a new thing, a fresh vision or new way, you will have to work through the fear of the unknown and how secure you are in your relationship with God who is leading you in this new way. The key to this is security in God not security in the new way. A subject for another time; this is an issue of security in sonship. However, if you do not come to a secure place you can end up having to judge and criticize or rather delegitimize what others are doing differently in order to feel legitimate about what God want you to do.
2. those who do not consider themselves leaders but many times have grown up in one type of church experience are sadly susceptible to a narrow sense of what God is doing and how He is doing it in other places. They can become dogmatic and entrenched in religious ruts. Then anything that is different from their experience threatens their security. If you are comfortable with where you are at, be prepared to have your security challenged. There is more to God than we all know and have experienced. Growth in Him demands that we constantly lay down our insecurities about how to find our security in Who (Jesus). But, like the unassuming dog that suddenly gets backed into a corner, many people will come out barking and biting when they sense their security threatened. Again, the key is sonship. When we are secure in who and whose we are, we will not fear the things around us. We need to be secure in Him and what He has revealed to us and rejoice in what He is doing in others for His sake. We need to realize the importance of diversity in the body of Christ.
“For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”” 1 Corinthians 12:14-21
Here’s a great post by Neil Cole, “The Real Dirt on Organic Church.”
So from those great theologians from the ’80’s, Bill & Ted: Be excellent to each other!