I fear that people’s attitude toward Christianity can sometimes be a little bit like the Raptors victory parade. People can sit on the sidelines and cheer on the team and think they’re part of the game, when they’re not. There are no spectators in the Christian life. There is no all-star team to applaud. In fact, the Bible says that the less prominent service in the kingdom is often the most vital (1 Corinthians 12:22). And everyone’s needed on the court, not in the stands. Let me share some thoughts on serving that stand out in light of Monday’s parade.
We have amazing volunteers at Grace. I’m always encouraged by the different ways that I see people using their gifts to demonstrate their faith and love. Yet there are some people who don’t volunteer. They hear about the needs and the opportunities, but don’t respond. One good reason can be because they’re just settling in. We encourage people to attend for several months before they start getting involved in ministry because it takes time to get to know people and get a feel for the church. But there are other reasons. Recently, I read an excellent article by Carey Nieuwhof on the “7 Questions Every Volunteer Asks But Never Says Out Loud.” It looks at some of the reasons that a disconnect can develop between ministry leaders and potential volunteers. Let me share Nieuwhof’s questions along with some comments in response to them.
People think their church is friendly because they have developed friendships with others in the church who are, of course, friendly to them. Jesus taught us that that kind of friendliness doesn’t really say much about our faith, “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.” (Luke 6:32). Being a friendly church isn’t just about being friendly to your friends; it really comes down to how friendly you are to the people at church that you don’t know.
You may think there's a typo in my title. Often pastors talk about the importance of not just being Sunday Christians. "We've got to live out the Good News throughout the week." That's really important to me too. But I think it's important to think about how to be Christian, how to act Christian when we come to church on Sunday too. There are many things we could talk about, and so this is a theme I will revisit in the future, but for now let's talk about loving our neighbour in the pew.