Babies are a lot of work (some more than others). Spiritual babies are no different.
My wife and I have six (the latest this last Sunday) biological children,and each of them has greatly changed the dynamics of our family. With each addition, we have learned to work together more, fall in love more, and realize how much more we need Jesus. Parenting is not easy, though it is well worth the reward of seeing our children become confident in love and grow in learning how to give it away. I am not saying my wife and I do everything well when it comes to parenting. However, one thing we have done well is welcome each of our children as God’s gifts into the world.
The church is no different. God is a birthing machine. He is causing people to be born again all over the earth each day and has given His church the choice to either welcome His children into the family (adoption) or let them fend for themselves and grow up without a family (orphans).
As a pastor you don’t have a say on who gets to join the family. Praise God for that, or church would quickly turn into a country club. You have to be open to whoever God sends you- just like children in the natural. However, I have discovered this to be the joy of fathering and mothering others in Jesus. That you get, like God, to celebrate the uniqueness of each individual. You get to walk alongside them, watch them learn to hear God, and grow up in Christ.
Again, I am not saying this is easy or happens overnight. Like parenting in the natural, things take time to grow and to be discovered. Lots of spiritual huggies have to be changed in the midst of watching someone mature in Jesus. Sometimes diaper changing can be happening frequently and without warning. Just like a kid learning to walk or ride a bike, falling down and getting back up is normal. Learning to accept and clean up mess is all a part of the process.
I know from my own journey in Jesus that I would not be where I am today if it was not for good men and women who surrounded me as a spiritual baby and helped me to grow in Christ. It was foundational and instilled in me the desire to do this for others. I really believe the church is changing as we know it; moving away from an orphanage and into a safe place for sons and daughter to discover who they are in Christ. Ask yourself today what is one way you could help the church be more like a family and less like an orphanage? There is no church doing this perfectly, we can all be part of the solution even if others aren’t.
“God places the lonely in families; He sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.” (Psalm 68:6)