It’s really easy for us to focus on things that need improvement, but it’s also really important to think about good. So here’s my top five list of things that I’m especially grateful about our church family. What would be on yours?
We take faith seriously. Ourselves? Not so much. Our faith is serious and important, but Burns does a good job of not taking ourselves too seriously. We can laugh at our mistakes. We’re willing to try and fail. We recognize that God is God – and we are not. I’ve always like Proverbs 17:22: “A merry heart does good, like medicine!”
We respond generously to needs. I can’t think of a time in our history that our church hasn’t come through to meet a need. God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). We have so many who give so much that nobody ever knows about. I’m really grateful for the anonymous acts of blessing that happen every week here. I suspect that 90% of our benevolence aid doesn’t show in the budget because so many people take care of so many things out of their own pockets as soon as a need arises.
We are more committed to scripture than we are tradition. Tradition isn’t a dirty word. The tradition of the apostles is our guide (2 Thessalonians 2:15), but we try not to be held captive to human traditions (Colossians 2:8). We should honor and celebrate our past, serve God in the present, and anticipate the future he gives us. Burns is not home to many sacred cows, and that makes ministry easier.
We prioritize. Not every issue or question is on the same level. Paul called the life and work of Jesus “of first importance” (1 Corinthians 15). I’m glad to try to keep the main things the main things. I’m also grateful that we don’t ignore the other things, too.
We love. In the time I’ve been at Burns, I’ve witnessed (and received) more acts of love than I can describe. We try to speak truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). We recognize that without love, we are nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). Love builds up (1 Corinthians 8:1). In particular, I’ve noticed how quick Burns is to love a person. We don’t put people on probation until we get to know them. We try to show love from day one.
I know that we don’t do all those things perfectly. I know that we have flaws and things we need to improve on, but this list could have been even longer—but it’s already having trouble fitting in the bulletin. This week, will you look for things that you love about our church family and thank God for them?
A challenge to my preaching friends – what’s on the list for your church?