Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:10
People expect Christians to behave to a certain standard; that is why Jimmy Swaggart, PTL and Ted Haggard made such big news. Christians are human, full of sin and frailty, and will mess up. I do this a lot; we all do if we are honest. But, we are called to a higher standard, and are expected to behave according to that standard. We are not going to be perfect, and most people do not expect perfection from us. But, they do expect us to be real, reverent, and sensitive. When the Christian is a listener and encourager, even though he/she may "mess up," people will forgive, because he/she is real. If we are forgiving and inviting, we will have an impact on those around us. When we live in the world, model Christ's character, and refuse to partake of the world's sin, then the impact will become real.
It is painful to see a happy group of Christians, born in simplicity and held together by bonds of heavenly love, slowly lose their simple character, begin to try to regulate every sweet impulse of the Spirit, and slowly die from within. Yet that is the direction almost all Christian Denominations have taken throughout history and, in spite of the warnings set out by the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures, the direction almost all church groups are taking today. Churches and societies founded by saintly men with courage, faith, and sanctified imagination appear unable to propagate themselves on the same spiritual level beyond one or two generations. A.W. Tozer
One thing I learned as a church-growth consultant is when a person leaves the church, the window through which to bring them back lasts only a few weeks (4 to 8). After that, the hurt becomes too much. When a person's hurt builds because it was not diffused by a simple effort of contact, he/she may never come back to the home church, and some are lost to any church forevermore. The statistics tell us that this is true in any Church! When we listen with compassion and concern and when we keep better records of our people, noticing the multiple absences, then we start to create an atmosphere of care. When we give the proper attention and love, then there is little need for rescuing the lost sheep. Hopefully, we may become better able to deal with Christ's children with the call He has given us.
When the person is being fed quality Bible teaching and is in the care of a support structure, which we all need, and where there is a place that the Christian can go where "everybody knows your name," that is a genuine group of friends who know more about you than your name. Where you are a part of something bigger than yourself, you are a part of the church in its mission and vision. Then, the likelihood of someone leaving, or causing problems that cause others to leave is greatly diminished. The person who is under the care of committed Christians, and in turn is caring for others in a committed church, will remain with his/her church family. But, when we miss the mark of caring for each other, then we miss our members and our call.
Our application is simple; we are to be involved in our church with passion and direction. We are to worship the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind, and soul, and reciprocate this to one another and our neighbors. We are to be in self-surrendered prayer and Bible study. We are to be accountable to one another and spend quality time with one another with kindness and not out of obligation. We are to know what our gifts are, be discipled in them, and use them to further the kingdom. In addition, we need to get away from the attitude of what can the church do for me, and replace it with what can I do for the church, the body of Christ because people are the church. When we see the changes in attitude while the passion to know the Lord and make Him known permeates the body of Christ with joy, then we will have the right target in our sites and the correct trophies on our wall.
On the contrary: if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. And the Lord will reward you. Proverbs 25: 21-22
As Christians, we are not one another's enemies, but at times we sure act like it. There comes a time where we must purge ourselves of the desire to get even with one another. We must release ourselves from the shackles of revenge. As believers, we know that God will right all of the wrongs and bring His perfect judgment. We must also realize we are always under the scrutiny of one another, and especially non-Christians. We must not betray the standards of holiness for a cheap pay back.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Ephesians 4:14
© 1999, 2007, Richard J. Krejcir, Ph.D. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org