A Welcoming Congregation

A Welcoming Congregation December 7, 2014


When I saw this cartoon by David Hayward, it struck me as a poignant depiction of the dishonesty that pervades a great many religious congregations. The pastor has presumably been going through some challenging times. When he finally admits where he is at for the first time, the congregation finally feels that they can tell him that they got there before him. We need more congregations where there is no illusion that the pastor is necessarily ahead of everyone else in their spiritual journey, especially if the pastor is younger than many members of the congregation, nor that the pastor is the one who has it all together. One of the things I love about Crooked Creek Baptist Church, where I am a member, is the willingness of all to be honest, to be different, and to be a community not in spite of this but because that is the only way of genuinely being a faith community.

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  • Charles

    Well said. So I assume that even though CC Baptist spells out its doctrinal statements (God, Trinity, etc.) in a traditional fashion and a bit differently than you might feel comfortable with (given your extensive research background), you still continue to identify with the church b/c you’re given space there to be different? But then, areyou allowed to actually “join” such a church? Are you in good conscience? In any given social community, environments of acceptance are good, but behind the scenes, often times boundary statements tend to define the real level of acceptance in the eyes of leadership.

    • I am a member, I am currently serving as moderator, I teach Sunday school, and am involved almost every week in music as well.

      The congregation worked through some material to come up with a list of “bedrock beliefs.” The one thing we all agreed on was “grace.” American Baptist churches can run the full spectrum from extremely liberal to extremely conservative, but this congregation seems to embody within it that full range of diversity that may typify the denomination as a whole, but is rarely found in a single congregation.

      • Charles

        sounds quite unique