One of the people in my life who is a constant source of inspiration and encouragement is Jim Martin. I am so thankful for his friendship. Here is a recent article he wrote to urge church members to think about how we should approach this season of “re-opening”…
I was getting ready to officiate at a wedding in central Texas. Preparing for this event caused me to think about marriage in general and my own marriage in particular. Beyond this, I had already been thinking about some of the fragile relationships within congregations and the relational challenges we have faced over the last year.
Some of these challenges have resulted in the fragmentation of relationships within congregations. Church members argued about the pandemic, wearing masks, getting vaccinated, the presidential election, racial issues, etc. For many, this has been quite painful.
Yet, as we look to the future of our congregations, it is important that we recommit to one another by loving with a rugged commitment. By “rugged commitment,” I mean a love that is willing to do what is hard and messy. This is a love for another that is much like the steadfast love of the Lord toward his children (Lamentations 3:22). This is a love that is willing to go the distance for another.
Can we love each other with a rugged commitment so that we forbear one another in love, even when we strongly disagree?
Can we love each other with a rugged commitment so that we seek to lighten the load of church leaders instead of making life so difficult for them?
Can we love each other with a rugged commitment so that we put our identity in Jesus above any other identity?
This rugged commitment is necessary for a lasting friendship, for a growing marriage, and for any congregation that wishes to stay together, in spite of the pressures that threaten to rip it apart.
Perhaps a place to begin is by deciding to take the initiative. I have been thinking recently about 5-10 people in my life who I simply need to connect with again. Is this something that you might consider as well?