So, we had our last class for Faith Sharing yesterday. There wasn’t a lot new discussed. We had a quick review of what we had done in the other weeks. Then they asked if people felt a little better equipped, and some hands went up. When we got to where we were discussing the cardboard testimonies, we all agreed we were very impressed by one of our older members who said God has no retirement plan. She was once in charge of visiting our homebound members and gave it up after some time, but she still does whatever she can manage, despite the challenges of aging.
We were asked what God has been doing with us over the last week. Again there were a number of short answers. One of them involved a high school counselor and how she advised several students to attend funerals of grandparents and the like. For some reason, their parents were hesitant about bringing them to funerals, for fear it would somehow give them a bad memory of their relatives. But she assured them that the services most often let them learn more about their loved ones and she has never met anyone who regretted going to one.
That started us on a tangent about how differently we view death from those who have no expectation of seeing their relatives again. Most of us consider funerals or memorial services to be a celebration of life, often combined with elements of family reunion mixed in. There may be some tears, but overall it is mostly a time for happy memories. Our leader however, shared how at one point he said something to that effect to a non-christian who took offense at him and filed a complaint against him. So, I guess that is one area where we need to be a little cautious, or at least we should take time to explain ourselves, so we don’t come off as flippant or uncaring.
Now most of the sharing about the past week was pretty brief. I wondered about entering in, because I did find myself involved in something recently involving a friend and a spiritual attack. But since it had nothing to do with non-christians or the unchurched, and because it involved spiritual warfare which often makes people squeamish, I didn’t throw it out there. There wasn’t a pause big enough for me to jump in anyway and the situation would have required some explanation.
Anyway, the tangents took up most of the time. They passed out evaluation forms toward the end, but I needed to run off to choir so brought it home. All in all, I enjoyed the class, but whether I learned much is debatable, at least unless blogging counts! I’m thankful that it was not the high pressure approach I encountered some years ago, that makes one feel guilty if one is not regularly leading people to Christ. It was interesting to see how various people approach the whole thing differently, depending on their careers and personality traits. Surely, God can use all of us in whatever way suits Him. It might have been nice to dovetail it with the Spiritual Gifts class a little and discuss how some may be better suited to supporting roles when it comes to sharing our faith with non-christians.
On the other hand, considering we are a denominational church that is rather far removed from our frontier days, it is a bold step to cover the topic. I wonder why it is that churches often seem to have an early period of rapid growth mainly from converts, then those converts settle down to become upright citizens and the church grows mainly from those raised in it. It is only when that becomes insufficient and our numbers decline a bit that we become concerned and realize that somewhere along the way, we became unfriendly to the down and outers, part of the establishment. Then we have to reach out, lest we become irrelevant in our own towns.
Years ago, when I was a Jesus freak, and the church seemed discomfited by their zealous youth, I left the church and thought it would simply die out with the older members who had a faith that we admired. When I came back a decade or more later, many of those people were gone, but I was happy to find that there was life in the old church yet, much of it in the form of people who had come from elsewhere and were often part of my generation. Now some twenty years farther, we are again in a place where our average age in our church does not match our town. I wonder, if those old saints I remember from my youth, many of whom could recall earlier times of revival, had prayed for a new time of revival which came about as the charismatic renewal that touched our generation. Perhaps we need to be praying for a new revival as they did.