I was thinking about this last night (a Wednesday evening). We ate a meal that volunteers had prepared. I watched the young children run through the Community Center just having a great time before their Bible class began. I saw person after person in conversation with one another. Some of these conversations were attempts to encourage and bless. I saw a couple in their eighties approach a couple in their late 20’s very concerned about a medical problem this couple was experiencing. All of that is so encouraging to me.
I have made this mistake on far too many occasions. Too many church leaders make the same mistake. I begin to think that the real action of a church is what goes on with ministers or elders. Church leaders (far too often) get wrapped up in institutional workings of the church. Far too often, we forget that the real action of a church is what is going on in the lives of ordinary people.
I am more and more impressed with people in the church who live out their lives on "Street level." It’s not that we ought to be impressed with the people in our churches. We need to be impressed with the Holy Spirit who is empowering and energizing these people. These people go to work, deal with their children, stay married, and somehow manage to pay their mortgage every month. Many of these street level Christians are just trying to survive. These people have a faith that really inspires me.
For too long, I really don’t think I appreciated just how much faith they are demonstrating every day. I think that I have acted as if the important stuff happened in meetings, church structure, organized ministries etc.
I am impressed with the 16 year old girl who says "no" to temptation in the face of "friends" clamoring for her to go with them.
I am impressed with a husband who is faithful to his wife and serves her each day in spite of her depression.
I am impressed with a number of people at our church who are bringing their friends (from the community) to class with them.
I am impressed with the woman who is faithful to her mother as she goes to the nursing home each day to see her. Her service to her mother is an act of faith.