How can the church be more intentional?

A country church on the Greek island Sifnos.

Image via Wikipedia

I heard a very good message this morning in church that included a word typically not uttered by a pastor from the pulpit. In fact, the word he used could probably be listed among the top 10 words pastors are discouraged from using on Sunday morning.

Suicide.

The context was Judas at the end of his life, but it had a much deeper and very real meaning for many people in church this morning. Nevertheless, I was pleased that the pastor worked the idea into his message that was titled: “Hope in Despair,” which talked in part about how Jesus Christ is the true hope that we can turn to when everything else is crumbling around us.

How can we as the church be more intentional in the lives of others? Not intentional as in the nosy Gladys Kravitz on the old television series “Bewitched,” which ran from 1964-1972. For those unfamiliar with the series, Mrs. Kravits was forever peeping in Darren and Samantha’s windows at about the same time Samantha (the witch married to a mortal) or one of her relatives, who were also witches, would pop in or out and perform some sort of magic while it was assumed that nobody else was watching.

I mean intentional as in genuinely interested in the lives of others as a service to them and for them. Intentional as in being able to sense when the person sitting near you just doesn’t look like himself that day and you walk up and ask “is everything okay?” I actually had a friend of mine do that once in church. His genuine question and concern was so evident in his demeanor that I had to truthfully tell him “no,” and then proceed through tears to explain why. I will never forget David for that and will always consider him a friend, even though we don’t see each other anymore because we live in different states.

Can we all agree that we could all use a good friend or three who knows us well enough to ask us the tough questions, or be there for us when we want to share some exciting news, or share some very troubling news? And who knows, by being more intentional in the lives of others, we might not only be able to save a few lives from the ultimate desperate act, but we may also save a few marriages and keep some families in tact, rather than simply ignoring the signs and believing that it’s none of our business if the young couple who’s been coming to church the past three or four Sundays is just a few pieces of paper and a stamp away from divorce.

If nothing else, we’ve gained some new friends and done, perhaps, one of the biggest things Christ called us to do when he told us to love our neighbors as ourselves.

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2 thoughts on “How can the church be more intentional?

  1. Wonderful post. Hard to believe how many of us sit in church Sunday after Sunday without ever getting involved or even noticing others except to take note of what they are wearing. Makes me want to pay attention every day, everywhere I go.

  2. Great message from both you and Pastor!! Unfortunately, I think not “being involved” is something that we’ve learned to do, because we are afraid to ask the questions because we really don’t want the answer. We’ve also been brain washed that we should keep our problems to ourselves. Even when a caring indidividual asks, we are afraid to let our guard down. We need to go back to “Friendship 101”, and not only learn how to be a friend, but also how to let a friend into our personal lives.

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