Guest Post - Chuck Lawless
I wish it happened more often, but I’ve been in churches where the congregation is clearly a God-centered, “one another-loving” church. In fact, I’m writing this post while thinking about the church where I just finished an interim pastorate. Here are some of the markers I’ve seen in these churches:
They love to be together. They just do—and it’s obvious. They genuinely see one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Their pastoral staff is relational with each other and with the congregation. That is, they serve together – and they actually enjoy it!
When they sing together, their joy is evident. They sing not because they’re supposed to, but because they want to. Even those who can’t sing well join them in the chorus.
They prayerfully work together for resolution when potential conflict becomes apparent. It’s not that they don’t face internal turmoil; it’s that they strive to deal with the spark before it becomes a fire. Unity really matters to them.
They naturally invite non-believers and the unchurched to join them at church. It’s almost as if they can’t help it. Their excitement leads them to talk.
They greet small group and worship attenders they don’t know. That’s because they really are excited at seeing new faces, and they really do want to get to know others.
They can’t wait to hear the Word of God. Sometimes this is the first sign I see of a church that’s on the brink of significant, positive growth—they want (and expect) their pastor to teach them nothing less than the Word of God.
They know they can trust one another to pray for each other. Their prayer list is not just a list. The words, “I’ll be praying for you” aren’t just words. The members are family, so they really do pray for each other.
Their small groups are as much life-on-life as they are content-sharing. They see each other beyond their weekly meeting as a group, and they talk with each other (via phone or text) regularly. Their small groups are characterized by accountability and encouragement.
They look forward to the future. They’re not stuck in the past, nor are they entrenched in the present. They do honor the past. They are enjoying the present. But, they believe the best is yet to come.
My prayer is that you might see at least one of these markers in your church. If so, I encourage you to tell us about it in the comments section below.