Earlier this week I was at a conference where the inspirational Lynn Green (the Baptist Union General Secretary) asked us what a Spirit filled community of people looks like. If you are not a churchy person and you are wondering what this means, Spirit filled basically means someone or something that is full of God’s presence.
Our group started talking about how we would be more like Jesus (except hopefully without the sandals and beard!), how we might be more loving and that we would read the Bible enthusiastically and have the help we need to live out what we are reading.
We began to wonder what was stopping churches from being Spirit filled communities and then it dawned on us that lots of churches are full of people who want to be at the centre of them.
Most church leaders will be familiar with ‘me centred’ complaints.
- The music was too loud for me
- The music was too quiet for me
- There were too many songs
- There weren’t enough songs
- Your sermon was too complicated
- Your sermon was too simple
- No one cares about me (no one has ever complained that there aren’t enough people for them to care for)
- The service was boring
- The service was too lively
I could go on.
The problem is that if we place ourselves at the centre of church then there is less room for the Spirit to move and work.
If you think that church is just for you, to meet your needs and to be run according to your preferences then there is less room for the Spirit to work. When we become Christians, we call Jesus our Lord, but in my experience there are lots of people who want to be the Lords (or Ladies) of the church they are a part of.
I wonder what it would look like if we confessed to God that the Church is His, that we are surrendering any control of it and that we are inviting him to fill us with His presence and to lead us?
That would look like a Spirit centred and not a Me centred community and I would like to see more of that!