Dave is just back from a week-long conflicted church intervention, so he is busy with related post-conciliation work this week. But Kevin DeYoung has a classic three-part series on his blog addressing disappointment in the church that will hopefully fill in well for us this week:
Consider just a few summary lines from the posts and then do check them out!
Part 1: How should church members respond when they feel unloved, unsupported, or like outsiders in their church? And how should church leaders respond when they are criticized for being unconcerned or the church is faulted for being unloving?
Part 2 (for leaders): Do we have some mechanism for personally knowing our sheep? Do we have some way of knowing when people are not showing up at church? Are we confronting cliquishness in our church? Are there easy, identifiable ways for the shy, the non go-getters, and the more culturally reserved to get involved and be known by others? Is it at least possible that we are more at fault than we think? Have we made promises we didn’t deliver on? There’s nothing more deadly than well-publicized, poorly executed good intentions. Are these critics generally critical?
Part 3 (for sheep): Did I ever ask for help? Have I overlooked opportunities to fit in and get to know people? Is it realistic for the leaders to give to every person in this church the kind of care I expect? If I really wanted to be loved and noticed why did I stop showing up? Am I willing to consider that I may be at fault more than I realize? Is it possible I’ve overlooked ways the body has cared for me because I was hoping a different part of the body would care for me? In general have I found this church and these leaders to be unloving and unsupportive?