We have spent the last four months serving alongside a Southern Baptist church, which some might seem odd for full gospel Bible School graduates to do. I mean, we don’t really believe the same way about everything in the Bible, do we?
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.- 1 Corinthians 12:27
The truth is that Scott and I determined a long time ago that we were going to serve the local church regardless of our doctrinal differences. The only thing that matters to us is working with a church that proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Everything else is beside the point.
How can we do this? How can we push aside our differences and work with people who may disagree with us on some of the beliefs that we hold near and dear to our hearts?
Jesus spent a lot of time teaching on kingdom principles. If I were to sum it up in one saying, I would say that kingdom thinking is keeping the most important thing the most important thing.
What does that mean?
It means that salvation through Jesus alone is the most important thing that we believe. It is the most important thing. Everything else fades in comparison.
We can work alongside and be friends with someone who may not have church services just like ours because Jesus is the most important thing. Jesus is what truly matters.
The truth is I am sure we are going to get to heaven and find out that each of us had been thinking wrong about some part of the Bible this whole time. No one has everything all figured out. So why let it divide us and stop of us from serving together now?
If Scott and I worked alongside a church by pointing out every area that we thought they were wrong in their thinking about the Bible, then we probably wouldn’t last there too long. We certainly wouldn’t be serving them well!
Biblical submission starts where agreement ends. If we agreed on everything, then we wouldn’t have to submit! So our submission to the leadership of a church where we are serving doesn’t mean that I agree with them; in fact, it means quite the opposite!
Can I let you in on a little secret? I don’t even agree with my pastor on everything! But the truth is that it doesn’t matter; I am determined to stay and serve where God has placed us regardless of our different beliefs.
If I truly believe that God has ordained us to serve alongside a local church, then I also have to believe that He desires for me to submit to the authority where He has placed me.
Church after Church
As we drive around the country, Scott and I often remark on the number of churches that are in a town. Now, I don’t think there is anything wrong with multiple churches in a town. In fact, I think that it is a good thing- different flavors attract different people.
But I always wonder how often those churches work together instead of competing against each other.
The purpose of a church isn’t to have more people or more money than the church down the street. The purpose of the church is to serve God and love the people of its community.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”- John 13:35
We show the world the love of God through our love for one another, including people who may believe slightly different things than us. People see how churches and church leaders put each other down in public. They see how we treat other members of the Body, even how we talk about preachers that we don’t like.
Let’s resolve to keep the most important thing the most important thing. Let’s resolve to keep a guard on our mouths so the world may see our love for each other, not our judgment of one another. Let’s live our lives on this earth according to the Kingdom of God, not the thinking of men.