Could Others Be A Light For Us? Really?
Peg and I were at one of my many doctors' offices yesterday, plotting the upcoming replacement of my knee. We happened to run into a couple who formerly belonged to FBC Pelham; they left some time back, for reasons which are irrelevant here.
I won't tell you what church they went to, or which denomination that church is part of, other than the fact that it's not Southern Baptist. But a couple of things we learned, while chatting, ought to make us sit up and take notice:
- I asked specifically what they had to do to become a member of that church. The answer was they had to attend several specific meetings, designed to be sure the prospective member knew what they were getting involved in, and so the church could assure itself of the commitment of the prospective member. Those meetings were Sunday morning (in place of Sunday School), Wednesday night, then a session Friday night and all day Saturday, then a final Sunday morning session. Note that one of those sessions was devoted to a "Spiritual Gifts Test", as they termed it. After those meetings, they attended a dinner meeting with the Spiritual leadership of the church, and shared their testimony with them.
- This particular church, in addition to the normal community ministries, now even has an outreach specifically to "dying churches". Churches which are in trouble, and know it. And it's not limited to denominations, and this church applies purely Biblical principles to those local churches which need revitalization and renewal in order to be a vital and growing part of the local community and of the Church, worldwide.
Does that sound like a good thing to you? Rest assured I'm not playing any word games here. The church I'm not naming is a solid, Biblical, Christ-honoring Christian organization/organism that I, personally, would be happy to be a member of. Except our ministry isn't there .. it's at FBC Pelham.
Big reason for this post, on top of a couple other recent ones? How would you compare this church's discipling of people with the average SBC church's? Further, considering their outreach to dying churches, how would you assess their impact on the larger church, outside their own walls and their own system of beliefs?
At this church, there's no walking down the aisle and completing the transaction by the end of the third stanza of a hymn. This church is going to be sure that the prospective member is a follower of Jesus, is actually a disciple of His, and will be a church member who uses their own "Manifestation of the Spirit, for the common good" mentioned prominently in 1 Corinthians 12.
From all I've seen, that's actually happening.
We in the SBC should be doing so well. I just haven't seen it yet.
If it were, do you think we'd be worrying about our name?