Sarah McCarten

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Some thoughts on taking things slowly… in church.

Can I let you into a secret? Sometimes I struggle in church. Okay, it’s not a secret; anyone who’s chatted with me for more than five minutes knows this.* One of my struggles is the call that the church puts on us to act immediately.

I’m all for spontaneity in life, but I wonder if in church we ought to be a little more considered?

My main worry goes like this; we hear a talk and the preacher asks for a response, it might be for those who are called to the mission field, those who are called to be leaders, those called to put out chairs. Whatever it is, if we sense that this call is for us then we are invited to make a response to this (go to the front/raise a hand/tell a friend/pray a prayer…) If you go to a slightly more charismatic church it may be that a person has a prophecy or a word of knowledge or a picture or a dream from God and people are encouraged to respond in the same way.

I believe that these words of knowledge, teachings, dreams, prophecies and pictures are usually from God and are usually right and good.

But they will still be right and good next week.

Let me offer a specific scenario. A word or a preach is given at church about there being people in the congregation who are called to leadership. The preacher asks for those who feel this sense of calling to identify themselves by going to the front. He doesn’t qualify what this calling is for or what the feeling is.

People go to the front. Some people know they are called to be leaders from previous experience, so they go to the front and are prayed for. This is good. Prayer is good.

My concern is for those who just want to be leaders, or just feel a funny feeling and go for prayer. This can be damaging. They may start to feel validated in a calling that is not really their calling. This is detrimental because, if and when they accept that they are not going to be leaders, they may feel like they haven’t fulfilled their calling, that God has let them down, or that they have messed up so badly that they have missed their calling.

There is another group – those who haven’t felt this call before, and genuinely feel it. They are prayed for and their journey toward being a leader continues. This is good. Prayer is good.

So what am I asking? Well, I’m asking if you wouldn’t mind if we took things a bit slower?

I like prayer and I think prayer is helpful and edifying. So I’d ask if we could pray for people who already know their callings. Could we pray for people in general? Could we pray for words and prophecies for individual people? If possible, could we ask people who feel general words and prophecies to consider them and come back for prayer next week or ask a friend to pray for them later?

Thanks for reading guys. It really means a lot to me. I tweet here.

*I also love the church so don’t worry about me.