Strivvo calls us to at least take the issue of church order seriously. Would that more of us did.
‘To help you better understand one of the many challenges church leaders face in shepherding the flock of God put into their care, it’s important to understand that in each congregation you’ll likely find a mix of these six types of people attending that local church.’
‘The best way to slow yourself down is to inquire of the text. At root that’s all exegesis is: asking questions generated by the text and searching for answers to those questions in and around the text. That may seem a bit obvious, but we forget that the first stage in the process is actually having questions. We often use the text as a kind of compendium of answers, but when we treat it that way we actually end up where we started. We don’t learn anything unless we investigate the text and use the text to investigate ourselves.’
I thought this was a very helpful analogy and way of thinking about this question.
‘I am convinced that if there are some who receive a particularly great reward, it will be those who were most faithful with what they were given, whether it was much or little, visible or invisible, acknowledged by others or completely overlooked. The man who lived a life of quiet faithfulness in the humblest of jobs will surely receive God’s commendation ahead of many of those who wore fine vestments and who stood in ornate pulpits. The woman who served with excellence in an invisible ministry will surely be acknowledged ahead of the one who brought mediocrity to the most visible.’
I have thought exactly this over the years and find it hard to disagree with Daniel: ‘Prompted by a number of different people I know wrestling with doubt in their Christian faith, I’ve been thinking a little bit about the role that doubt and uncertainty play in our understanding of faith today. I have heard a lot of folk speaking very positively about uncertainty. I have myself at points been tempted to think that doubt is the mark of a mature faith, a faith that doesn’t shy away from the tough questions. On reflection, though, I think that’s just wrong. In most cases, I’ve come to think, doubt is a bad thing; in many cases, uncertainty is actually the sin of unbelief.’
‘All too often, we wander into church and expect the preacher to bless us without doing any of the necessary work to get the most out of the sermon. We often come to church expecting to be fed without any work on my part. I just sit there and feed off the preacher and if he doesn’t do his stuff well enough, well it’s his fault I don’t feel blessed. But that simply isn’t the case. There are some basic things that we need to do as hearers if the Word is going to take effect. Here are five suggestions for how you can get more out of Sunday sermons.’