The Power of Love in a Christian Community: 'What a Healthy Local Church Looks Like'

Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash

The Power of Love in a Christian Community

If you have followed me any length of time, you know I am not shy about critiquing the corruption and short comings in institutional and organized forms of Christian religion. I know many of you, like myself, have experienced not just poor church experiences, but scarring and damaging ones. Many are wary, rightfully so. Many are in extreme forms of reaction, both theologically and emotionally to anything formally structured or organized  in terms of following Jesus with others–being the people of God together practically. Frankly, some have lost hope and given up.

That is why this post is so important. I have permission to share it and have blanked-out personal names to maintain privacy.  

I believe this real-life, real-time letter from a pastor I know personally embodies the values and the transformative power of what can happen in a local church REGARDLESS of how it is STRUCTURED, when Christ is exalted and central at all times, where the good news of the gospel is relentlessly preached in a simple yet powerful way, and where loving and serving each other is all that matters practically.

 I believe it will be worth your time to read. 

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Reconciliation: The Cruciform Cost of Relational Peace-Making

Josefina Alys Hermes de Vasconcellos - "Reconciliation"

Reconciliation by Josefina Alys Hermes de Vasconcellos

Grace is costly. It may accrue to us freely, but it cost Jesus dearly. Love is costly, as is peace-making reconciliation. It is not enough to  understand these things as abstractions. We must grow in grace-ness (graciousness) toward others—even those with whom we may disagree or those who may have hurt us. Jesus was wounded in the house of his friends and betrayed by one of his most intimate friends.[1]  The disciple is not above the Master. We have been given a ministry of reconciliation to, and for, the world and it is a tall order. Would it not make sense that it actually work among those who call upon Jesus as Lord, before we try to export our convictions to others?

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Spiritual Covering: 'Stop the Nonsense'

stopsignSpiritual covering is a biblically illegitimate, bad idea, that just won’t go away.

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Church Refugee Sanity Guide – Part Two: 'The Psychology of Transition - Part One'

The Psychology of Transition – Part One

Leaving an institutional religious expression that you may have invested in for a long time can be emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and relationally overwhelming. We often do not understand what is happening in us, to us, and around us. For all the alleged “Biblical literacy” that Christians are supposed to possess, we can be very ill-informed and ill-equipped to function well as human beings.  Understanding the processes of transition and change (in any arena: job, family, church, relationships, finances, etc.) will help us understand ourselves, and others. We can successfully and fruitfully navigate difficult seasons of change.  This second session of the Church Refugee Sanity guide looks at what happens to us psychologically during a major transition: 1) stability/comfort, 2) discontinuity/awareness, 3) disembedding and more. Leaving institutional religious expressions.

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Part Two - The Church Refugee Sanity Guide

The Church Refugee Sanity Guide – Part Two

Copyright 2016,  Dr. Stephen R. Crosby, www.stevecrosby.org. Would you like to partner with us in distributing our materials and perhaps generate some income for yourself?  Please go to www.stevecrosby.com for details of our Affiliate program. This ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those believe in the message of a radical grace in a new covenant understanding. If this article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible contribution through our Paypal button to help? Thank you and God bless you.

Church Refugee Sanity Guide – Part One: 'What is Happening to Us?'

Next to death of a loved one or a divorce, fewer things are more emotionally and psychologically challenging than changing a “church” association. Often when people begin to question their church experience and consider “leaving,” they feel alone, misunderstood, accused, disoriented, and perhaps even crazy or thinking they are losing their mind. They often feel unloved and unsupported.  In this first session of an  eleven-part series called the Church Refugee Sanity Guide, I introduce the topic and provide a frame of reference for understanding that you are not alone.

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Where Should I go to Church?: 'You are asking the wrong question'

Where should I go to church? You are asking the wrong question.

Where should I go to church? You are asking the wrong question.

I often get asked: “Where should I go to church?” It is the wrong question to ask. Lurking in it are likely inappropriate and unrecognized presuppositions and motives. We need to ask a “who” question, not a what and where question. The correct answer to that question will be found in understanding God-assigned relationships. Relational reality in God-assignments is where you will find your “church,” no other way.

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The Nones and Dones – Part Two: 'A Tidal Wave of Change'

The Nones and Dones - Frustrated with Church and Gone

The Nones and Dones – Frustrated with Church and Gone

My friend, Greg Albrecht, provided the following. It’s a fascinating, and sobering, postscript to my previous blog on “Nones and Dones: “The number of unchurched people in America would make the 8th most populous country in the world!”

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The Nones and Dones: '65,000,000 Believers in the USA Are De-churched'

The Nones and Dones - Frustrated with Church and Gone

The Nones and Dones – Frustrated with Church and Gone

According to sociologist, Josh Packard, in his scrupulously researched book, Church Refugees, there are currently 65,000,000 individuals in the USA who are “done” with church, 30.5 MM of those, retaining their “faith,” the balance having no “faith affiliation.”

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Confessions of a Charismatic: 'A Candid Reality Check from an Insider'

Confessions of a Charismatic

Confessions of a Charismatic

I have been a Charismatic believer immersed in charismatic church culture beliefs, value systems, leadership modalities, and worship expressions for forty years. For thirty-five of those years I was a worship leader and “pastor” in a variety of charismatic constructs. Our train has jumped the track, there are fatalities all around, and prominent charismatic leaders seem to want to keep tooting the whistle and playing engineer.  The carnage must stop.

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The Leadership Legitimacy Survey: 'When is it appropriate to confront your leadership?'

What does legitimate leadership look like? Not This!

What does legitimate leadership look like? Not This!

I am often asked: When is it appropriate to challenge or confront my church leadership? There is a full spectrum of opinions about the definition and expression of leadership in the church. There is also a broad spectrum of opinion on if, when, and how to confront church leadership. Jesus is our example in this matter, whether we like His example or not. Take my little “Leadership Legitimacy” survey and discover what Jesus would have you do.

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