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Wednesday, July 12th 2017

12:43 AM

Trying to Grow the Church Part 4

We had a great time at the NACC this year, and the adventure continued across the top of the country.  We drove through part of Kansas, up through Nebraska, into Iowa and up to South Dakota.  From there, we saw Wall Drug and the Badlands National Park before ending the day at Mount Rushmore.

Our journey continued through Wyoming and into Montana where we entered Yellowstone National Park from the Northeast entrance.  We then turned south into Denver, Amarillo TX, Wichita Falls TX, and Abilene so I could check out Abilene Christian University.

After that, we headed East through Dallas, West Monroe LA for church, and then home.  That giant circle was almost 5,000 miles worth of driving, and this marathon wore us out.

I will be writing about the NACC and parts of our journey as time goes by, but for now, I wanted to talk about our experience in the Wyoming Welcome Center.  This was after our visit to the Badlands National Park and Mount Rushmore, so we got a chance to see the land that once belonged to the Buffalo and Native American Indians.

As we drove through South Dakota, Michael made a comment that the land still looks empty, and with the exception of fences and the occasional group of steaks, I mean cows, she thinks that this is what the land must have looked like before the White man took over.

When we were leaving the Wyoming Welcome Center, the lady who was in charge gave us some hints about what we can see on the way to Billings MT.  As she was talking, she pointed out Little Big Horn and said that this was the place where General Custer was finally stopped and he got what he deserved.

Up until that point, I thought that General Custer was a favorite military leader as he was marching into the west for the country.  I know that His last stand was his unfortunate downfall, but I never met a person who actually hated him, until I talked to the lady at the welcome center.  I guess it is safe to say that she is a Native American Indian.

After that conversation, I started thinking about how we tend to claim that the land is better off now that we “Americans” settled it, but there is a group of people who disagree with us.  This is not a rant against the government or a statement for Indians, but it is a message that not everybody is a fan of the changes that are made.

Just like the Native American Indian, there are people in the church who are being forced to accept a new reality that is being called progress.

The new generation of the church has taken over, sometimes with hostile methods, sometimes slow and steady, but not with the full support of the older generations.  I’m sure that there are some exceptions to this, but overall, what we tend to see as progress can also be viewed as the end of an era, and that can be painful for those who spent so much time building on the foundation that was laid before them.  Is this a good thing?  Probably not.

There are times when change is appropriate and natural, but there are other times when change can be destructive, and that is not natural.

Even the older generations recognize that change is needed for the church to survive, but that does not mean they will not hurt when it is happening.  This is why we need to be sensitive to their view and quit being so bull-headed when receiving feedback that is not what we are looking for.  Instead of getting defensive, we should listen to their side of the story and see if there is a way that we can reach an agreement that will satisfy all parties involved.

I believe the Apostle Paul said it best when he wrote in Romans 12:18, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”  Do what you can to keep the peace even if it means slowing down long enough for people to get used to the changes.

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