Having now passed our church covenant and then our constitution & bylaws, in January we embark upon a massive enterprise to reach out to every member family of FBC Farmersville. Like most SBC churches, we have a number of members on the roll of the church who are either not very active in the life of the church or not active at all.
The easiest thing to do, of course, would be nothing at all—to ignore those folks and focus our energies upon the people who are active in the congregation as well as new prospects. The second easiest thing to do would be to conduct a massive purging of the congregational rolls, giving a few seconds of attention to each of these wayward members before returning our attention once again to our active members and prospects.
However, a few words from 1 Corinthians haunt me enough to drive us to a different course. In chapter 5, discussing the man having an illicit affair with his step-mother, Paul castigated not the sinner but the church, saying, "you have become arrogant and have not mourned instead."
Clean rolls can be accomplished without any correction of congregational arrogance. God calls us to congregational mourning over the sinful lifestyles of wayward members. Mournfully we hope to go out after those who have fallen by the wayside.
The lyrical nuances of this song will likely drive some of you crazy, but I hope that you'll permit me a musical flashback to my college days. The general emotional feel of this song represents a sentiment under-articulated in Christian music produced during my lifetime—biblical mourning over the backslidden and an accompanying longing for restoration. Enjoy…or rather…don't enjoy. Mourn.