We asked our bloggers what 3 things they thoughts pastors wish their congregations knew. This is how they responded.
Besides what a gem they have in their minister, the three things I wish my congregation knew are:
1. Your brothers and sisters in Christ don’t usually intend to hurt you.
If I had to take a guess at how often we accurately communicate with one another, I would put it at a mere fifteen to twenty percent of the time… and this is for people who speak the same language! Time and time again, people are in my office or grab me in church corners to talk about how “so and so” is upset because another “so and so” said this or did that. Sometimes I watch commercials for shows like “Pretty Little Liars” or “Scandal” and think, “Girl, please! You want drama? Come to a church pot luck!” … unfortunately.
Anytime you get people together working there is bound to be some friction, but it seems that we are too quick to interpret things that “rub us the wrong way” as personal and intentional attacks or disrespect. The people sitting next to you in the pews have shared your prayers of need and your praises of celebration. And if you have been blessed to be a part of a family of faith for a while, you have shared most major life events together: weddings, baptisms, funerals, Christmases and Easters.
These people are not your enemies. They are not out to get you. They are your brothers and sisters in Christ.
2. Most of what we do in church is remind each other.
We remind each other of our fond memories of Sunday school when we were kids. We remind each other that we still need Sunday school teachers for the kids today. We remind each other not to mess with the thermostat in the fellowship hall. We remind each other to donate to the missions the church is doing in places where there is no air conditioning. We remind each other of the stories about Jesus’ love for the outcast and the sinners. We remind each other that love and grace is still available for sinners like me today.
Don’t get frustrated if you find yourself saying the same things over and over again. It’s just part of what we do at church in remembrance of Christ.
3. “The prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective!”
So James tells us … and I believe him!
However, prayers are not like rubbing a lamp so that the genie can grant your wish, fulfill your needs, calm your fears or bring the healing your loved one needs.
I believe prayers are what help us get in tune, in line with the plans God has for us and for creation. Prayers help draw us out from our limited perspectives and catch a glimpse, a sense of the eternal reality God operates in.
And I pray for everything! Green lights, healing cancer, dogs and cats, broken marriages, Tampa Bay Rays Baseball games and the health and well-being of my loved ones, trusting that what I hope for is within God’s will and if it is not, that God will equip me with what I need to deal with what comes.
LOLIMARTA ROS REITER ministers alongside the fine folks at The Presbyterian Church of Seffner outside of Tampa, Florida. She was born in Puerto Rico but has lived on the mainland since she was 9. Her daughter Isabel (10 years old) wants you to know her mom is funny; Olivia (7 years old) wants you to know she likes to talk about God … a lot; and John, her husband, wants you to know that she is the best wife, ever … Such a smart man!