If you attended a church service this weekend, you may have been sitting in a roomful of suitcases. There’s no way to tell what percentage of people in a given congregation are schlepping baggage from a previous negative church experience, but I suspect the numbers would startle even veteran church leaders. Bad baggage is often eagerly recycled by leaders. This may serve the needs of the organization. It may even be called good pastoral care by some leaders, who rationalize that putting hurting people back into service as quickly as possible will promote healing. In some cases, this may be true. But it is often self-serving expediency at work in this line of thinking.
I would like to suggest that creating an environment where it is safe for people to unpack their baggage is Discipleship 101 in a way that many other church activities packaged under that banner isn’t. [Read more]