A minister writes about the importance of significant and intentional community for followers of Jesus.
Church-hopping Christians who flit from one congregation to another do have a problem—but it is not with the people they meet, as they think. It is with themselves, observes one veteran pastor who believes local church involvement is the true measure of someone’s faith.
“Let’s face it; following God is much easier when we are not being jostled by fellow travelers on the journey,” says Daniel Brown, pastor of The Coastlands in Aptos, Calif. “How sad that some believers imagine all the trouble with people in the church is with the people in church.
“Some Christians are like kids with slivers in their hands—God asks them to hold still so He can get at the slivers with as pair of tweezers, but they keep pulling away and squirming around, hopping from church to church, getting more and more infected by the very stuff that could be extracted in fellowship. God uses church to increase our love and to refine us.”
With these principles of the purpose of fellowship Brown urges committed church involvement for every believer. Drawing from his 20-plus years in ministry—during which he has founded 23 churches and helped start two overseas—Brown says church is “the perfect setting for us to experience and to offer the love that Jesus said would characterize His followers.”
But that is not always easy, and if someone does not have ongoing contact with other Christians they can be “fooled into thinking [they] are loving others” because they experience little frustration. “But until you spend meaningful time with others, you do not really have much occasion to love them in spite of what they do.”
“Learning the truths of His kingdom is not like learning facts from a textbook,” he writes. “It is more like hiking over the rise of a hill and, for the first time, catching a glimpse of a valley where you could gladly spend the rest of your life. With each new element of truth you grasp, you find yourself thinking, ‘This is the best.'”
Adapted from a Charisma News Service article and used with permission.
Category: Living the Faith