Whether we recognize it or not, we’re living in the midst of a significant time in history. Many things are shifting in our culture.
The foundations of many long-held institutions and beliefs are experiencing a cataclysmic shift. Impactful conversations are happening and we need to decide if we’ll remain silent and watch changes unfold or if we’ll step into the uncomfortable and sometimes painful dialogue.
We have decisions to make as a church and as individuals. In particular, for those of us that lead a body of believers, it’s imperative for us to consider how we receive what’s happening around us. The way we respond doesn’t just impact us, but those we lead.
The intent of this post is not to direct or attempt to define what you believe or think about these topics. The intent though is to remind you of the responsibility you bear as a leader of people, in particular a spiritual leader. It’s not enough for you to voice an opinion. This isn’t time to falsely believe that this will pass and the church will remain the same.
This is the season to do the work. What do I mean by that? It’s time for us to consider these things….
- Who are you listening to?
- This isn’t the time to only listen to the same theologians and teachers you’ve always learned from. Now is the time to seek out new voices, even ones that you may not agree with entirely. Now’s the time to listen to those that may have a different perspective, with the intent of seeking to understand their experience and perspective. You may not agree, but you can listen.
- Who are you reading?
- Please expose yourself to authors that are addressing this topic, but you may not normally read their work. Read authors that have lived out and addressed these issues with integrity. There are many voices and authors, both black and white, that have sound, Biblical perspective to share. If we continue to only read the work of people that look just like us, it’s difficult to grow completely.
- Who are you leaning in to better understand?
- Sit across the table from someone that doesn’t look like you and have the same experience as you. Lean in and really listen. Ask questions without judgment and let them speak without interruption.
- What relationships are you intentionally investing in?
- Seek out new relationships to pursue friendship, not based on how alike we are. This can be hard for those of us that are seasoned. It’s been a long time for many of us since we’ve pursued a new friendship. We’re never too old to make a friend. Jesus was really good at making friends out of people that were nothing like Him. It isn’t that hard, it just takes openness and willingness to listen without judgment.
There’s important work to do, but unlike so much of the work that we are used to and proud of…this is internal work. However, this internal work determines what happens next.
Our culture is changing, shifting, growing, expanding…will we be open to seeing what God does in the midst or will we be so uncomfortable we refuse to do the work and opt for sticking our head in the sand just like the proverbial ostrich? Don’t miss out on what God is up to. In the past, this kind of movement has led to beautiful God-ordained change. I’m not going to miss out. I’m digging into the hard, uncomfortable work because I believe it’s worth it. I challenge you to consider picking up a shovel and joining me.