This is the next in a series of posts having to do with being a caring church.
2. Leaders Show Care
Second, a caring church is a church whose leaders demonstrate care and concern for each other, thus setting a good example. This is explained by Peter in 1 Peter 5:1-4:
And now, a word to you who are elders in the churches. I, too, am an elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I, too, will share in his glory when he is revealed to the whole world. As a fellow elder, I appeal to you: Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor. NLT
If the leadership of a church is uncaring, at odds with one another, following their own agendas, or otherwise in disunity, the church will be in disarray. The leadership sets the example for the rest of the Body. So the leadership must maintain a high standard of holiness and caring. The quality of the relationships among the leaders and the members determines the quality of the whole fellowship.
3. No Fear of Rejection
Third, in a caring church, people can share their deep feelings and hurts without fear of being rejected. This can be summarized in today’s epistle, especially in the last verse (Romans 15:7), which says:
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. NIV
A person should be able to express doubts, fears, or worries without the risk of somebody saying, “What kind of Christian are you?” We all have to remember that everybody is different, and everybody is in a different place in their spiritual journey. While being able to make yourself vulnerable without fear of being judged is important, there is a time and a place for everything, of course. Most often, such sharing is more appropriate in a small group setting, or one-on-one with a trusted Christian friend or pastor.
So a church must be a place where people aren’t judged, but helped; aren’t put down but lifted up; and aren’t ignored, but paid attention to. This leads me into the next attribute of a caring church.
Based on articles from Every Day with Jesus (Jan-Feb 2009), by Selwyn Hughes, CWR Ministries, Waverly Abbey House, Waverly Lane, Farnham, Surry GU9 8EP UK. © 2009 All rights reserved.
More on this topic of caring in a future post.