The Church is all I have known.
Growing up, my parents took me to worship every week. Throughout my high school years, there was never a doubt where we would be on Sunday morning.
After high school, I went to Bible college, and being in Church was a regular part of my week and weekend. Then as a sophomore, I began speaking and leading a local Church as a preacher.
Once while living between ministries, I took some odd jobs to pay the bills, but my family and I were in Church every week. At over 49 years of age, I cannot recall ever missing more than five times in a single year over my lifetime.
I know the local Church from a Biblical, experiential, and participatory standpoint. I have an immense amount of knowledge of the inner workings of a Church community. There has been a significant amount to learn over my lifetime, but one of the greatest lessons I have learned is that everyone is trying to do what they think is best.
In all those years, I have only met one person I felt like was a wolf in sheep’s clothing trying for personal gain from the Church community. Otherwise, everyone in my experience was trying to do their best – the best for themselves, the best for their community of believers, and the best for the Lord. The issue is that no one seems to be able to agree on what is truly the best.
The older lady who wants hymns believes that is the best way to worship. An older gentleman who wants me to read the KJV on Sunday morning honestly believes that is the best translation. The leader that makes a tough decision that people disagree with is just trying to do what he thinks is best for everyone. The list could go on and on. Usually, having disagreements in Church results from people having different views of what they feel is best to do.
Each week it is easy to cynical, angry, and bitter because people are doing things you do not like. My encouragement is to see others are doing what they think is best. Then show them grace when they are wrong, teach where they need education, and love them till they understand your view. No one you encounter this weekend wants to make your life more difficult; in fact, they want you to experience the best things they know. Appreciate their heart and seek unity with compassion, mercy, and grace. That is the only sure way for us all to have the best experience possible with the people of God.