Let It Be A Training Ground
As a Lay Witness Coordinator, I use to tell God’s people that the altar is a safe place. I truly believe that! You and God together cannot go wrong! I ask though, “Is today’s church a safe place”?
As family, my children learned how to grow in the safety of their family and their home. Toddlers walked into end tables when learning how to “walk”. They often made mistakes while learning valuable lessons under the tutorage of loving parents, but is that how the family of God works in our churches?
As church people we shoot our wounded rather than offer healing, which is what the Gospel is all about. We condemn our brethren rather than offer grace, which again is what the Gospel is all about. We bring conflict, disagreement, and division amongst each other rather than peace and unity, which is what, supposedly, the church is all about.
Why not allow God’s people to do God’s work rather than the clergy, the paid staff? And why not equip them so they can do it right? Then why not release them with the church’s blessing to be free to do the work without tight controls allowing the Holy Spirit to be their guide? Can’t we trust God’s Holy Spirit?
Is the church a safe place for believers to grow? Can those not “up front” on the platform be free to minister during a service? To lay hands on others? To prophesy to people? To give monetary gifts secretly to help people in need? To teach or preach if gifted? And if they make mistakes along the way, is the church going to “pastor”, “nurture”, “shepherd” them? A shepherd will stop what he is doing for one lost sheep, one sick sheep, one wondering sheep, not shoot the sheep and have lamb-chops instead.
What would it be like if a visitor had no idea who the “Sr. Pastor” is when visiting a church because everyone else is ministering out of their passion, gifting, and point of view? Body ministry from the Body of Christ to the Body of Christ would make an awesome service, and prepare those ministering for training to do it outside the confines of our church buildings in our daily lives, but today’s church is reluctant to allow that mentality because what would happen is something went wrong? Or someone makes a mistake? Control is the best way to prevent error and mistakes, and that is what today’s church opts for instead. I would like to challenge the church’s leadership to allow their sheep the freedom to make mistakes in order to learn. We do it in almost every other aspect of life, but we could do it in a safe environment of a loving church family in the safe confines of our church buildings.
But we don’t! I plead to you, the church, to take the challenge, the plunge, and allow those in your Body to grow, make mistakes, but do it in the safety of a loving family in a safe place, the church. If we cultivate that atmosphere, maybe we will actually begin to equip the “saints”, the common believers, for the work of the service.