Religious diversity is a gift. Even for those of us who are profoundly convinced of the “rightness” of our tradition, conversation with people of other faiths often provides moments of startling insight, not just into the beliefs and rituals of those who think otherwise but into the deepest heart of our own beliefs.
Churches and synagogues often serve as incubators for soup kitchens, food pantries, nursery schools, retirement homes, arts programs, and other worthy ventures. Once those ventures are established, how much control should a congregation have over them?
Inviting neighbors to serve on our boards may be unusual and even scary, but this kind of ministry can be life-changing and life-giving to the mission-seeking church.
It’s very easy in our American culture to leave a church. No matter how hard pastors and lay leaders work to keep folks focused on mission instead of individual preferences, church attendance is often a consumer-driven phenomenon. If there is any kind of conflict brewing in a congregation the temptations to flee grow exponentially. It’s not unusual to hear someone say, “That church was no longer meeting my needs.”