There is one phrase that I have heard over and over again during my two years as Director of Church Health. Are you ready? Here it is: “But you don’t understand. We aren’t a typical Free Methodist Church.”
“We aren’t a typical Free Methodist Church.” To be honest, I am never really sure how to respond to this. Sometimes it is said with a great deal of pride and I don’t understand why. Sometimes it is said in order to explain why the church can or can’t do something. I have heard it said by pastors, leaders and attenders. And up until now, I have simply nodded and tried to get back to what we were talking about – partly because I don’t want to start an argument and partly because I’m not entirely sure what a “typical” Free Methodist Church is.
But I have started to come up with a general response. Let it be noted that I still really don’t want to argue. Here is what I have been thinking regarding this “not a typical FM church” thing.
So let’s start again.
Pastor/Leader/Attendee: But you don’t understand. We aren’t a typical FM church.
Me: Great. That means God has made your church unique because He has a specific call for you inside His Kingdom. Now, that call will have lots to do with making disciples, serving your community, loving your neighbor and so on. But the fact that you aren’t like anyone else means that you have a specific call in your specific area to join God on His mission. So we should try and figure out how best you can do that so that you can get going and be the unique expression of the church that God has called you to be.
That’s my response. And I think it works for everyone. If you have some sort of pride in being different – great. Just remember that as long as you are different because that’s who God has made you to be as He put your church together (and for no other reason), you have specific Kingdom work to do. You are the stewards of God’s unique call on your church. Please take that seriously and get to work being the church God created you to be.
If you have been using this as a reason or excuse for not doing something…fine. But then you have to figure out what God wants you to be doing. Not doing is not an option. So again, you are stewards of God’s unique call on your church. Please take that seriously and get to Kingdom work.
Not like other FM churches? That’s great. Who are you? Why do you exist? What is God asking you to do? Get going on those things. And if we can help, we would be happy to do that. That’s my response.
Director of Church Health, FMCIC