Shining Stars of Encouragement (Image Vol 10, No 5 – Sept/Oct 1994)

By Matt Dabbs

By Denny Boultinghouse

“Are you encouraged or discouraged about the future of the Churches of Christ?” is a question I am often asked. In response I usually joke: “My answer depends upon which hour of the day you ask.”

There are times when I am encouraged, and there are times when I am quite discouraged.

On some days, a dear brother will call with a heartbreaking story of a church that has been poisoned by a narrow, nonstudying man, who has completely sectarian view of the church. This man usually has a mentality that is willing to destroy the church in order to “save it,” and he acts in completely unbiblical ways in order to help the church “stay with the Bible.” He never sees how unbiblical his power play is. He never comprehends just how incredibly arrogant it is for him to claim to “stand for the truth, even if he is the only one who is willing to do so.” The Bible speaks of such men when it talks about the blind leading the blind. When I get off the phone, I must confess I am sometimes discouraged about the future of the church.

But thanks be to God, there are many things to be encouraged about. We have so many wonderful people who are allowing Christ to live in them in such a way that they shine like stars. I honor every such servant of God We have thousands of unsung heroes of the faith who are giving their lives in service. Praise the Lord for these shining stars.

I honor the “dorm mothers” at Christian colleges. These loving women strive to comfort and lead the young people in the dorm in a Christian fashion. Though flawed like the rest of us, they give their lives in service. They love the Lord and work hard to mold the lives and faith of young people. I praise the Lord for the service of dorm mothers who shine like stars.

I honor dedicated elders of small rural churches. Week in and week out, they try to be good shepherds of the flock. Sure, they are not all they should be, and maybe they need to learn more about participatory leadership, but they hang in there, doing the best they can to be the kind of elders God wants them to be. Praise the Lord for the service they render as they shin in our universe.

I honor the servants who spend their summers as counselors (or other workers) at Christian youth camps. They stay up all night with young campers and provide spiritual leadership for the young lives entrusted to them. They pray with the kids; they offer a shoulder to cry on. Praise the Lord for the way they serve the kingdom as they shine.

I honor the thousands of Sunday school teachers who courageously and lovingly teach our children week after week. They give many hours to preparation of lessons. No, they are not always as prepared as they should be, and some may not even have much natural teaching talent, but they continually do their best. They want to help round our future leaders in the Word of God. I thank God for such dedication.

I honor the good-hearted song leaders who do their best to serve their churches. Some have a gift of music, others do not; but they are committed to blessing our assemblies through song. Sure, some drag songs, some sing words they do not know the meaning of, some spend little time in song selection, but they are willing to stand up there and try. Why? Because they love the Lord and his church. I thank God for such love and light.

I honor the men and women who come to the assembly without their spouses because their spouses are not Christians. But they continue to come and bring the children. They want their children to have the good influence of the church. They keep coming, even when it would be easier to just stay home. They don’t come out of a mere duty or obligation to law, they come because they love the Lord and his people. I thank God for the light they shed on their families.

I honor those who staff the nursery year after year. Every Sunday they hold babies, they burp babies, and they rock babies. They give of themselves so that young mothers can be a part of the assembly. I am thankful to the Lord for the love these ladies demonstrate.

Every church among us has many wonderful “unsung” heroes of the faith. You may be a part of an urban church of a thousand or a rural church of fifty; in both there are many shining stars. And quite honestly, when we focus on these people, who allow Christ to live in them, there is much to be encouraged about.

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Profile photo of Matt DabbsThis author published 1584 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

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