I read the following in a newsletter I receive from Parish Publishing. There is no author attributed, but I really like what whoever he/she is has to say.
What I want my church to be!
My church is composed of people like me. I help make it what it is.
It will be friendly, if I am. Its pews will be filled, if I help fill them.
It will bring other people into its worship and fellowship, if I invite and bring them.
It will be a church of loyalty and love, of fearlessness and faith, and a church with a spirit, if I, who make it what it is, am filled with these same things.
Therefore, with the help of God, I shall dedicate myself to the task of being all the things that I want my church to be.
I think this unknown author captures very succinctly what often goes wrong in churches. When our church isn’t what we want it to be, we like to focus on what the pastor is or isn’t doing, or the decisions of the session or how “other people” are not doing their share. Ghandi told us to “be the change you want to see in the world,” and this author tweaks that idea just a bit to, “Be the church you want to see.”
So whether you are a member at First Pres or some other congregation, the next time you are frustrated with your church (and you will be), take a moment to reflect on how you are being the church you want to see and how you might encourage others to do the same.