We talked about this question in church Sunday morning a few weeks ago. Here are some areas we discussed.
We tend to be glad to see people who have come to worship with us. We don’t approach people with a desire to criticize them or put them in some sort of box or keep them distant. Visitors feel welcomed. This is surely the way it’s supposed to be!
When Jesus asks us to love our neighbors as ourselves, he asks us to welcome them, to value them, to be interested in them, to care what happens to them. When he says we should love our enemies and pray for them he means that even if a stranger turns out to be some kind of “enemy” our obligation is still to love them, to see them.
All the work done here is done by volunteers (except occasionally when we have to hire an electrician or plumber, etc). This means we “only have ourselves to blame” when things don’t get done – or “only have ourselves to thank” when they do get done. That’s not a bad thing. 🙂
This situation has developed out of necessity, not by choice, and it has its good points.
It may be, however, as we move on into 2016, that we should consider whether it would be helpful – and possible – to hire one or two people part-time. There actually is a lot of work to be done in keeping a spiritual association like this functioning well. We have to ask: would it be wise to hire help? What would it cost? How would we pay for that?
We are not the movers and shakers of Nebraska, or even of Hastings. We do not run our ministry off a large financial endowment nor do we depend on large donations from a very few people.
That’s pretty ironic, eh? Being proud of our humility! But there is a way in which I think it makes sense. We are not in a position to feel superior by any normal standards. That’s a blessing – let’s admit it! But let’s also be sure we never begin to feel superior spiritually, or doctrinally, etc. We are called to love and submit to God, and to love and serve our neighbors – and our enemies. And that’s pretty much it. Ordinary people are entirely free to do that!
4. SPIRITUAL EMPHASIS
We believe it is not our religious activities or performances that matter to God – or even to other people, or even for ourselves – except as they help us tend our spiritual health. We must remain just, loving and honest, with ourselves, with God, and with others. We want to emphasize spiritual reality in day to day living right here and now.
If that’s what we’re like, I’m pleased. If that’s what we want to be like, I’m even more pleased!
(FBC Hastings Newsletter article for February 2016.)