Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A grave responsibility

Last month, in the same week, two people had the same response to an idea I had for inviting people to my church:  Too many people might come.  Besides the fact that people aren't exactly beating down the doors to come to my church, I had always thought the point was to have so many people come that you got to make room for them.

In the light of all of my ponderings about God and church and community, I've about decided they may have been correct.  I still think the point is to bring people into community, but I think that I was minimizing the responsibility that arrives with each new member.

Another quote from Inward/Outward, quoting Bonhoeffer's Life Together:

In a Christian community everything depends upon whether each individual is an indispensable link in a chain.  Only when even the smallest link is securely interlocked is the chain unbreakable.  A community which allows 'unemployed' members to exist within it will perish because of them.  It will be well, therefore, if every member receives a definite task to perform for the community., that he may know in hours of doubt that he, too, is not useless and unusable.  Every Christian community must realize that not only do the weak need the strong, but also that the strong cannot exist without the weak.  the elimination of the weak is the death of fellowship.

This quote could just be about making sure everyone serves on a committee or action team, but I don't think so.  To open the links of a chain, insert new links, and close the links is physically and emotionally difficult. When I bring someone to our community, I need to be ready to forge that chain.  Getting them through the door doesn't even compare to the huge task of gathering them into the community.

Another elevator speech that I practice is about my church.  It is said to each new member when they join the church, and I really like it.  It goes something like this:  We believe that we have gifts to share with you , and you have gifts to share with us. 

Putting that into practice is no small task.  

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