in the church hunt, i have felt the risk every time i walk through the doors of a new church gathering. honestly i wonder if they will use me or love me, if they will cherish me or discard me when they've had their fill of me. smiling faces and warm receptions can be so deceiving. i've been welcomed, pursued, utilized, and then forgotten time and time again. will it ever turn out any differently?
to me it's like coming out of a relationship with a hope for another that will be different, but a fear that it will again be more of the same. i have hope. i hope that's clear. i haven't given up on the Church. i serve the church well. i am an asset and a pain in the ass. it's the perfect combo really. they'll never have to pay me a dime for my time and they'll never have to put on a show or do a little dance to get me on board. they'll also never have to prove their worth to have my heart. the Church only has to love me, accept me, cherish me, and protect me.
is that a foreign idea, that the church would cherish you? we hear frequently about loving the church, protecting the church, cherishing the church, but is the institution looking after us? church managers, do you hear what i'm saying? there are people under your care that are feeling used and then discarded, courted and then rejected, spotlighted and then abandoned. feed your sheep. nurture them and protect them. they are risking everything, eternity and accountability, by submitting to your care... please do not take that lightly.
i may approach church differently than a lot of people, but i am not alone in my understanding. i am not alone in my nervousness and hesitation at the thought of joining in again. the church is a divine idea. the church is ordained by God. the church is a tool for His glory. the church is a bride in preparation. the church is an extension of His goodness. and the church is a very scary place for those that have been mishandled by its managers. but like me, there are those that continue the hunt and make ourselves vulnerable to risk again... because we refuse to give up on the Church, whether or not the Church has given up on us.
"Now it's up to you. Be on your toes - both for yourselves and your congregation of sheep. The Holy Spirit has put you in charge of these people - God's people they are - to guard and protect them. God himself thought they were worth dying for.Acts 20:28 Msg