Yesterday, I was away from New Vintage Church preaching as a guest at another church. Guess what? I missed our church. I always do. I miss seeing people I love and finding out what’s going on in their lives. I miss praying for them, and experiencing a taste of what God is doing in our church. Of course, there is something wonderful about the view of the breadth of His Kingdom God gives you when you’re away. But, there’s no place like home.
However, it hasn’t always been that way.
I’ve has seasons of ministry over the last 18 years when a weekend away preaching at another church was an oasis. There were times I didn’t miss my home congregation and at times, I even preferred being gone to being present—because my home church environment was a war zone. I hope you don’t know what I’m talking about, but many of you do.
You know what it’s like to show up for church Sunday and have no idea what exactly is coming your way—you just know it’s going to hurt. You know what it’s like to preach a text you’d love throw like a Molotov cocktail into the church—and fight the temptation to do so. You know what it’s like to see people murmuring in hushed tones with “concerned” faces perk up and break up their conversation when you walk near. Or, maybe you know what it’s like to watch elders or others you’d hope might protect you furrow their brows during the message or criticize you harshly on a Sunday—Sunday after Sunday after Sunday.
Who would miss that?
God wants better for you than that—and He wants better for the church than a pastor who might rather be elsewhere. So, what steps need to be taken this week to restore what’s broken? Take them. You can’t others’ steps for them, but you can take yours.
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:12-15