We received a knock on our front door a couple weeks ago. Ms. Rebecca’s daughter had come to deliver a giant box of peanuts. Ms. Rebecca had passed away, and our kids had been asked to carry on Ms. Rebecca’s legacy of feeding the squirrels every morning. Although Ms. Rebecca was known in our neighborhood for faithfully feeding the squirrels every morning, more importantly, she was known for her devotion to Jesus and radiant kindness. What do you want to be known for? If you are a disciple of Christ, I assume it is for faithfully following Jesus. Have you surrounded yourself by people who help you grow to live out the life-giving way of Jesus? Does the culture of your church family lead you to be clothed in compassion, kindness, gentleness, humility and patience as we are challenged in Colossians 3:12? Does the culture of your church family lead you into the way of Jesus? If the answer becomes no, it’s time to discern should I stay or should I go?
Our behavior is an outpouring of what’s in our hearts and minds: the values we hold, our beliefs, and the narratives we believe. I’ve come to realize we are conditioned by the sub-cultures we participate in. These sub-cultures condition our hearts and minds and shape the core of who we are. Our decisions are rooted from a place this deep, and our decisions add up to our lifestyles. May we be in a rhythm of pausing to reflect on the sub-cultures we participate in, especially the church culture contributing heavily to our discipleship. When it comes time to consider should I stay or should I go, I suggest having a discernment pattern or guidelines for wisdom in deciding where to be discipled.
- Identify your desired legacy. What do you want to become?
- Honestly name the current state of the culture of your church family. Is the culture healthy and life-giving?
- Honestly assess if the culture of your church family is aligned with your desired legacy.
When misalignment is present, it’s time to ask 3 difficult questions:
- Is the Gospel being upheld?
- Has the culture become too unhealthy for myself and/or my family?
- Is there hope for restoration and revitalization?
May we stay alert and aware of the sub-cultures we participate in and be willing to enter into honest reflection. Participating in restoration and revitalization is beautiful, but at times the culture is unwilling or not ready. When this is the case, discernment is needed because without it, our own discipleship and that of our families can suffer.
Jen Binford, Coach