Moved Mountains

Banner - Mt Trio, Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia - (c) 2007

Friday, January 25, 2008

Am I "Anti Church"?

I had a rather frustrating conversation with a good friend earlier in the week. It arose because of assumptions this person seems to keep making about my opinions on the issues of "church" and "mission".

It's something that has kept cropping up over the past year or so and usually ends with me consistently trying to reassure this person that I think believers meeting together to learn, worship, pray and fellowship and that people travelling overseas for "mission" are really important. As someone both employed by a local church, involved in leading and teaching in a Sunday meeting and also heavily involved in overseas mission in Central Africa I've found the assumption that I am against both these things in some way or another to be incredibly frustrating.

It all came to a kind of head at the start of the week. Instead of dancing around the whole thing like we usually do, I came out and simply said "I don't know why you think I am against Sunday meetings and overseas mission. In fact I don't see how you could even think that I would be against these things given my involvement in both."

She responded by saying that I kept saying we needed to forget about these areas and focus more on other things so I obviously was anti both. The conversation ended at that point and I was left feeling bewildered.

I was talking about it with Alyssa later on when Alyssa hit on an important detail we had overlooked - something I regularly say when discussing these things is "we need to put Sunday church to the side and focus on the other days of the week" or "we need to put overseas mission to the side and focus on the missionfield at home for a bit".

What Alyssa pointed out was, what I mean when I say these things is, "we need to elevate the other 6 days of the week and things we do on those days to the same level of importance we give Sunday's" and "we need to give mission at home the same level of importance we give mission overseas".

But instead of hearing this, my friend - and quite possibly others also - was hearing, "I don't think Sunday meetings and overseas mission are important and we should just leave them to one side and concentrate on other things".

Another clear example of the confusion which can be caused by not communicating clearly. All I have to do now is work out how widespread these sentiments are so I can hopefully undo any damage I've done and reassure everyone I am not anti church!


Shannon said...

That's tough Andrew...thank God for wives that can read between the lines. So many times my wife has had to help me see something I've said from the perspective of those I've said it to.

For what it's worth, you know I'm a pastor, but I agree with you completely. Rather than make Sunday the highlight of the Christian week, we need to elevate the other 6 days to an equal place of prominence in the work we do for Christ!

The Creature said...

:) Thanks Shannon