Practical Difference Makers

One of the vows folks are required to affirm if they are to become a member of our church – or a member of any church in the PCA, for that matter – is:

Do you promise to support the Church in its worship and work to the best of you ability?

This seems simple enough. I don’t recall anyone ever hesitating on that one.  In fact I don’t recall anyone even asking a question for clarification. But, how does one actually DO that? How does one support the worship and the work of the church?

In the closing message of NEXT 2010, Kevin DeYoung offered a list of suggestions for the conference participants to become “difference makers” in their local church:

• Find a good local church.
• Get involved.
• Become a member.
• Stay there as long as you can.
• Put away thoughts of a revolution for a while.
• Join the plodding visionaries.
• Go to church this Sunday and worship in Spirit and truth.
• Be patient with your leaders.
• Rejoice when the gospel is faithfully proclaimed.
• Bear with those who hurt you.
• Give people the benefit of the doubt.
• Say “hi” to the teenager that no one notices.
• Welcome the old ladies with the blue hair and the young men with tattoos.
• Volunteer for the nursery.
• Attend the congregational meeting.
• Bring your fried chicken to the potluck like everybody else.
• Invite a friend.
• Take a new couple out for coffee.
• Give to the Christmas offering.
• Sing like you mean it.
• Be thankful someone vacuumed the carpet for you.
• Enjoy the Sundays that “click.”
• Pray extra hard on the Sundays that don’t.
• And in all of this, do not despise the days and weeks and years of small things (Zechariah 4:8–10).

Seems so simple, doesn’t it?  But I can tell you if even a handful of people adopted these things in a local congregation the difference would be noticeable.  As a pastor, I would be thrilled.

3 thoughts on “Practical Difference Makers

  1. Hey Dennis, I’m going to respectfully disagree with this as most items listed with the exception of taking a new couple out for coffee are inward focused…! Not that the items to do are bad things, no, they are very, very good things, and I to wish more folks would take the attitude expressed by these actions.

    But for me they seem to be what mostly gets “Church folks” to be “Church folks” and not Salt and Light in the community. In other words they seem to me to be within the walls not ouitside the walls where we should BE THE CHURCH ! Does that make any sense to you?

    In any case, I guess to be fair, the artical is only addressing the one aspect of Body Life in the Church and not “being the Church”. In my book there’s a HUGH difference…

  2. I understand where you may be coming from. But let me ask you this: What is the effect of the absence of these things?

    Being missional is distinct because of its outward focus. No doubt. But most missional theologians will tell you that a missional church is strong internally with an outward focus. Francis Schaeffer, in Mark of the Christian, explains that the way we love one another is the “final apologetic”. In other words, a church community that loves one another offers something to the unchurched world that is not found elsewhere. It is both an example of what heaven will be like and an inviting alternative to other groups one may join.

    I will challenge anyone to find a respected missional theologian/practitioner who does not advocate cultivating a strong community within the church. If we are only outward focused we do not offer the church as an example of Christ’s people. BOTH healthy inward and intentionally outward are essential to be what Jesus has formed us to be.

    • I agree with you 100% Dennis! No kidding…”Both healthy inward and intentionaly outward are essential to be what Jesus has formed us to be.” Good points above.

      Didn’t mean at all to be just outward focused. I know in my heart of hearts it takes both and I believe Scripture backs that up.

      I get the feel as I read the Gospels that Jesus was very much both in “being” before his men and outward towards those that needed him, a rich man, a prostitute, the lost, wayward sheep, sick, heratbroken, the lonley, the religious and the unconvinced. Even Judes…

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