by Heather Bock
“Church is so freezing! Why do they have to turn the air conditioning so high??”
“Every Sunday, we go to the same service, and we are trying to get involved in different areas, but we still don’t see anyone we know at church. It feels so lonely!”
“I love that our church has a Spanish service, but although our children are in the same childcare together, we adults never mix. We’re more segregated than diverse.”
These are three complaints I voiced to my husband, Greg, in the past two years we’ve attended our church (the first one many times). While I complained, I hate to say I wasn’t doing a lot of praying about any of these (I know–understandable about my first complaint). Not only was I not praying, I wasn’t doing a whole lot to ameliorate any of them, either. I was turning into one of those grumbling church members–one who wants to see changes but who doesn’t reach a hand out to help make those changes. Many times, this ends in these people finding another church.
Have you ever brought a suggestion before leadership only to have the person say, “Why don’t you head that up?” Yeah, it’s pretty startling. We think, “Wait a second; yes, I want that to happen, but not by me!”
Ponder this one, though. Doesn’t the person in leadership have a good point? Who is so passionate about the cause that she thought about it repeatedly enough to bring it up before the person in charge? Who cares more that these changes be made?
Thankfully, no one in leadership said anything to me, but Greg and I did decide to put our words into action. First, we started praying. Then, as we felt God lead, we moved, and I don’t mean we moved churches. Well, actually, I kind of do mean that.
If you’ve read my blog, you already know that Greg and I decided we needed to start attending the Spanish-language service at our church. I posted about it here. We don’t speak Spanish too well, but we started an online Spanish course to help us, and we use headphones our church provides in the back. God’s been moving in more hearts on this issue than mine at our church, and our Spanish-language pastor’s wife started a Spanish/English prayer time before church–I made sure to be there. We attended their potluck: comida compartido and tried to start getting to know the people there. I have a dream of Caucasians and Hispanics at our church loving each other well someday–becoming friends, learning from each other, and treating each other with total respect. I hope this will be catching for other churches in my city, for my city in general. Greg and I are a tiny part, but instead of sitting and complaining, we are after all, a part.
Remember that other complaint I had about not knowing anyone at church? We couldn’t find a community group that would fit us at the time. We knew we needed a group that met on Sundays during one of the services. We decided to stop simply talking about this, too. Instead of approaching the head of community groups to tell him how it wasn’t working for us, Greg asked if we could start one ourselves. Never mind that we had only been attending the church a short time. We needed to jump in with both feet. We’re now part of a beautiful community of people we love, a group that is growing deeper in their walk with Jesus and their walk with each other.
As for the church’s temperature? I knew I couldn’t change that, so I made the obvious change that everyone had already told me to make: a change in my clothes. I now wear fall or winter clothes to church even in the Texas summer and just change into something more appropriate to the weather when I reach home. Sometimes the change can’t be made anywhere but in yourself.
Do you have the gift of prophecy in a church that doesn’t support that gift? Maybe God is calling you to challenge the people there to see a bigger God than they had known before. Are you frustrated with the style of worship at the service you attend? Maybe this is a change you make in yourself, focusing more on the words than the type of music conveying them. Do you wish your church had a ministry to single women? Pray and talk to the leadership to see if you can begin a group by yourself or with a friend.
Instead of letting the opportunity go by for God to use you, seek Him and His will, and if He leads, act. Maybe you are the one God wants to use to bring a change in your church.
Do you have an example of God using you to make a change for which you had long hoped? If so, please comment below!
Drawing for Matt Redman’s Glory Song
Today I get to announce the winner of my drawing for Matt Redman’s Glory Song cd! Thank you for all who entered the drawing. The winner is: Chris Wallace. Congratulations! Please email me at heather.bock[at]glimpsesofjesus.com with your address so I can ask Propeller/FlyBy Promotions to send the cd to you. If I don’t hear from you within a week, I will draw another name. Thank you!