Thursday, July 17, 2008

Spice it Up!

I love to cook, and I think I'm becoming increasingly better at it. As a matter of fact, I think my husband's and my unfortunate waistline expansion over this year is evidence that I might be a little too good at it. Anyway, I was making a dish the other day that just didn't seem right. I did what the recipe said, but the dish lacked a certain something. So, like any good Southern cook, I improvised- a little spice here, a little cheese there, serve it with some cornbread and Viola! Sheer Excellence! Being a part of a church body can be the same way.

We go to church and listen to sermons, participate in group study, and maybe even volunteer to teach Sunday School. Inevitably, a time will come when one church member or another doesn't feel like they are getting enough. "I need more meat" is what Christians love to say, of course referring to spiritual milk and meat which is referenced in Hebrews. This is a major reason (or excuse) for many Christians who leave a particular church, or group in that church. Of course, this action is sometimes necessary, especially if the church is not bible-believing, or honoring true and right theology. Even so, in instances where the church is bible-believing and theologically sound, is dropping out necessary if something isn't going exactly how you think it should? I think not.

Take my cooking story as an example: if something doesn't taste exactly the way you want, do always dump it out and start over? No! You add seasonings, change the heat, etc. You do everything you can do to make it edible. I think we should take that approach to church membership.

If the teaching of a certain group or class is not up to your standards, offer to help. Ask questions. Give input regarding subject matter and resources for study materials. Offer your opinions (at an appropriate time, of course). On a larger scale, if the church lacks in ministry opportunity, start a new ministry or work to expand an existing one. For a practical example, if you think the church doesn't meet the needs of the Special Needs population in the community, start a sign-language class. If you don't feel that the youth program is solid, help the leaders find better materials. Offer your time or some specific suggestions on how to better minister to teenagers. It's also important to include time as a factor when considering improvement in a church setting. Most of the time, your consistent support and grace will be much more beneficial to not only the church body, but to also to your spiritual growth. As one of my favorite quotes from some obscure devotional says "Grow where you are planted."

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