Saturday morning I sat on the sidelines of the soccer field, compelled to listen as a woman approached a couple beside us. They spent the 3rd quarter sharing evaluations of local churches, including: opinions about building design, decor, song choice, refreshment availability, relationships with clubs, whether or not the teaching pastors are “good,” and what finally prompted them to “move on” … each time. Little did they know the stranger beside them was praying and preparing about how to blog about “Can’t we all just get along?”
When I’m in countries where followers of Christ are few, I’m impressed by how they gather around what matters. When we’re in places where Christians & churches are common, our inner “consumer” rises up like ordering at Burger King = having it “your” way. But living with the perspective of “this little light of mine” in a dark world quickly reminds us of what core issues unite, and it frees us up to let peripheral issues take a backseat.
As I’ve worshiped in other lands and cultures, I’ve found the primary thing that matters is what we do with Jesus Christ. Just before Jesus announced He would build His Church on Peter, He asked His disciples: “What about you? Who do you say I am? (Matt. 16:13-19) What we believe about Jesus is a first step to knowing if we can worship or work together. When we explored salvation in September, we took talked about who Jesus is, because everything else hinges on that. We have to know who He is to believe what He has done and will do.
This key question brings up two other core questions:
Sharing common convictions about core values allows us freedom to worship and serve together, just as differences in these foundations limit us. Sandra shared about how the Church began, described in Acts 2:42 with 4 core elements: teaching, fellowship, breaking bread, and prayer. Breaking of bread is referring to observing the Lord’s Supper, an act of worship. In his new book, the Church Awakening, Chuck Swindoll says, “You can have more than these four, but you cannot have less and still be a church.” Other things shouldn’t diminish the core four. Sadly, peripheral issues are often reasons people call a time-out … or stand on the sidelines of soccer AND church.
At the 4th quarter, the “church talk threesome” decided to get back to the game, but first they shook hands and introduced themselves. They shared all that without even knowing each other’s names. What would people hear if they sat next to us?
We CAN get along if we remember we’re small lights in darkness, and what matters most for the Bride of Christ is: What do we do with Jesus Christ our groom?
John 1:1-5; 1 John 5:20
The Church Awakening, Chuck Swindoll