Ministry Monday: Church Community Pastoral Resources (Attitudes for Success)
Certain core attitudes make for an enjoyable community experience. But they may require personal change in each church member’s life. Below are five attitudes for pastors, church leaders, volunteers, and members to all consider when it comes to growing church community.
Church Community Pastoral Resources: 5 Attitudes for Growth
- Unity –
“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all,” (Ephesians 4:2-6, ESV).
Notice the community emphasis. It is on what people have in “common.” The verses repeat the word “one.” So, it is saying there is an essential unity that God has brought about and now you are to live it out. Don’t let it deteriorate by self-centered living.
- Humility –
This is about not putting yourself above or before others. The humble mind of Christ (though he was the greatest) didn’t think it beneath Him to wash dirty feet. He didn’t think Himself above going to the cross as the sacrifice for all humanity.
- Gentleness –
A gentle person is one whose emotions are under control. It describes the attitude that submits to God’s dealings without rebellion and to man’s unkindness without retaliation. Albert Barnes explained, “The meaning here is, that we adorn the gospel when we show its power in enabling us to bear injuries without anger or a desire of revenge, or with a mild and forgiving spirit.”1
- Patience –
The Greek word group of makrothumeo (makrothumia) focuses on restraint. It is that capacity for self-control despite circumstances that might cause agitation. Makrothumia means long heated and long-protracted restraint of the soul from yielding to passion, especially the passion of anger. Your human nature is so quick to take offense that you need a longer “fuse.”
- Tolerance –
Tolerance pictures restraint under provocation and includes liberal allowance for the faults and failures of others. This is to be your lifestyle.
Did you notice that all these terms involve putting up with other people who are difficult? That’s why building community is so hard. It’s much easier to walk away than to work through differences, irritations, aggravations, slights, offenses, and more. The development of these attitudes requires a continual deepening of our relationship with Christ. Remember God’s design. His goal for you is for you to be conformed to the image of Christ – to increasingly become more like Him in the attitude and actions of your life. Community rests on each person growing in Christlikeness. Each Christian needs to ask the Spirit of God to do what cannot be done alone, which is to overcome your selfish desires to become others-centered instead of self-centered. That’s a lifetime journey. There’s no quick course and graduation. It’s daily coming to terms with self-oriented habits and learning to see yourself not as “one solitary Christian” but as a member of a community of faith.
- Albert Barnes, Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1962).
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