Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fitting In

It is common to hear some church members complain that they just don’t “fit in,” and they are usually right. The question is, why don’t they fit in?” Are they expecting everyone else to conform to their likes and dislikes; their personal agendas; their private culture? In order to be part of anything (e.g., a friendship, a family, a club, a church, etc.), there has to be far more give than take. While it is possible that everyone else is to blame e.g., they’re not friendly, they’re cliquish, they think they’re better than me, etc., it’s just as likely (perhaps more likely), that the problem lies with the person who doesn’t fit in. Fitting in can be hard work. It will probably mean having to sacrifice for others, being hospitable, fully participating in the community events, resolving conflicts, being open to other ways of doing things, not expecting everyone else to conform to their own way of seeing the world. When we commit ourselves to be a part of the Body of Christ, we must find a way to fit in, to find our place of service, and to fulfill our duty to Him and to His people. Dedicated, sacrificing, people almost always fit in; they don’t have time to feel sorry for themselves. They derive a joy from serving others for Christ’s sake.

5 comments:

  1. Thank you for another good post Pastor Booth. Hope you don't mind, I'll be linking to this one also. :-)

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  2. As a military brat that has been part of many churches I have found these things key in becoming part of a local church

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  3. It's just as likely that the fault lies with everyone, and the buck has to stop somewhere. It shouldn't stop with the sheep. The shepherds have to have a day of reckoning or they're not really shepherds at all.

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  4. As I said, "While it is possible that everyone else is to blame..." I also agree that faulty or bad pastors could be part of the problem. We all have to work harder to sacrifice for each other and see the Body of Christ knit together in love.

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  5. Yes, well, it is one thing to say and another to do. It does not necessarily take a "bad pastor" to pass the buck and look at his members as the one at fault. Sometimes it's merely a matter of looking at the issue the wrong way or perhaps a bit too much in the way of pride and strong personalities.

    But, in response to the above comments I'd simply say that I reject the notion that people must either feel that they must fit in or that they ought to--the only conformity we should see in a covenant community is fidelity to God's Word. There's no need to search for blame. So, on the whole, I disagree with the way that you've construed this and would add that differences between people are not only essential but also beneficial in the church. The fact that conformity must be seen in something other than the essentials of the Christian faith and the identity of faithfulness in a covenant community is something we must categorically reject.

    In America, we have the strange freedom to choose where we want to go to church and who we want to affiliate with and that creates situations where both ministers and members move well beyond the requirements of the Scriptures in defining what a covenant community ought to be.

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