People are going to have stereotypes; they’re going to jump to conclusions. We cannot control how people view the church. But we can control what they have to view.
There are some people who would say, “I’d rather be wrong with the pagans then right with the Christians.” But wouldn’t it be wonderful if people said, “I don’t agree with their faith, but it is hard to disagree with their example. See how they love each other. Look at their courage and compassion. Look at their character. I wish I had that.”
That’s what we hope people will see, but we can’t change their eyes. So we must keep plodding along, whether anyone likes it or not, or even notices.
This is the balance that healthy churches must embrace: faith in God to do the extraordinary and our resolve to keep doing the ordinary. If the early church had just waited around for the miracles to come, people wouldn’t have been saved, the church wouldn’t have grown, the church wouldn’t have been healthy. But because the early Christians were praying and proclaiming and working through the tough stuff of life together, when God decided to do the extraordinary, they were ready.
Are you and your church committed to the basics: to prayer, proclamation, and being a practicing Christian community? If we will make that our aim and keep doing it year after year, who knows how big the flame will be when God decides to light a match and lay it at the kindling of our faithfulness.