I also am inspired by countless others that are inspired to do the same. There isn't many. Churches sit empty, or less than full. Yet, if you strike up a conversation about Christ, you will find there are more voices than we think. But less than we need.
I've gone through so many seasons in my ministry. I've tried to give up. I've tried to preach boldly, I've tried to be compassionate to everyone's needs. It's a beautiful and frustrating learning process. But it's also freeing.
I've listened to other Christ followers and critiqued their sermons, or study, paging though scripture and picking apart everything they've said and using the discernment scripture to justify it. All the while tearing the hearts out of those that are diligently seeking God's word just as I am. I'm glad God allows us learning without shame. But I'm also thankful that God gives us the ability to ask forgiveness and correct our actions as HE gently guides us.
This learning journey started a few years ago, with an issue in the church. With everything I was and learned, I tried not to take on the spirit of offense, but Satan found a weakness in me and I chose to stop fighting the good fight of faith and threw in the white flag. Standing and facing this situation would have allowed me to grow. Instead, I retreated as is common for me to do and instead chose to work it out on my own.
So 2 yrs later, which is kind of my time frame for issues... set in and here I am with God's lessons.
I was approached by several people in the last year who are noticing the same offense I did. One by one they are leaving the church as I did. Same offense and feeling justified because for one, there is a true offense that is not being addressed, and for two, that offensive yeast is growing. It's not that this group of people are wrong, but a home divided against itself can not stand. Right now the house is divided.
So what is the answer?
God ~ Jesus ~ Holy Spirit
I truly believe that there is a need to address sin in the church. It's uncomfortable, it's messy and you run the chance of ruining relationships. Truth can do that. But what is truth? My truth, their truth or God's truth? My background wants me to jump into my 80-90's self help guru's and begin learning the art of people pleasing and success and growing and gaining respect and numbers and power. My background also has intolerance of certain behavior. But what about my certain behaviors and backgrounds that aren't of God. Because I have loads of them! Like giving up...and running when things get tough. Ministries doesn't last on quitting. Perhaps I could learn something by reading Parable of the Persistent Widow . I have one thing going for me. I don't give up on God, now I need to learn to not give up on people.
Perhaps also, we can learn something from the Parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector. We can certainly become Pharisee's in so many ways. We can start critiquing our brothers and sisters in Christ and use discernment scripture to justify it. Or perhaps we can be loud and successful in front of others, or we can be as we are. Tax Collectors. I received a revelation one day that completely changed by perspective. That revelation was this: We are all students with ONE TEACHER. That teacher is Jesus Christ. The rest of us are simply walking through life in trial and error, being taught by One Teacher, One God. The reason Jesus was the true teacher and mentor, was because He was and is authentically God in flesh walking with us, teaching us His way. He doesn't need us to teach, he needs us to be scholars and do our best to encourage others by our experiences and testimonies of His Goodness. He provided the Holy Spirit, HIS Spirit to live in us, to be led like the pillar of fire by night, and the cloud by day, yet that Spirit is in us at all times, if we ask. We grow our knowledge, by getting into God's word, and avoiding our own opinions and thoughts. We need to become like minded with Christ.
We are always going to have faults, we can always be exposed, we can always teach false doctrines, but if we truly have a heart for Christ and seek His word, truth and deed, our mistakes should not stop us from sharing God's word, or from learning. We are not the teacher, we are the students. We can learn from children, Jesus says so. Children. The ones we tend to teach, can teach us. We can honor those that do not deserve honor and we can love those that are hard to love...even if it's ourselves.