Hey Dr. Buckingham,
I am wondering if you can share your personal thoughts about how I can grow spiritually. I have been attending church my entire life, but I do not feel like I have grown much as a saint. I am not sure if my lack of growth is associated with personal flaws or my relationships inside and outside of church. If church is the place where growth and healing takes place, what kind of Christian saint should I strive to become? I like attending church, but it is becoming more and more difficult. Please share your personal thoughts.
A Confused Saint
Dear Confused Saint,
Like many saints, I go to church every Sunday because I enjoy fellowshipping and learning the word. But unfortunately, at times, I get discouraged and dread going to church because I do not always look forward to dealing with the different types of saints. I realize that people are unique and different, but certain saints are difficult beings. However, in order to keep myself motivated and inspired about attending church, I engage in behavioral profiling, which involves observing and categorizing saints.
I truly believe that understanding behavior is the first step to coping with it. Each saint has he or her reason(s) for attending church. And in order to make the church a place where people can enjoy each other and fellowship in harmony, we have to start having conversations about the types of saints who attend and influence others in the church.
From my observations I have come to learn that are five types of churchgoing saints.
1. Loudmouth Saints
Loudmouth saints love to be the center of attention and talk more than they listen. They have a tendency to be harsh with people and justify their tactless and aggressive behavior in the name of God. Also, they like to be recognized and want everybody to know that they are soldiers for the Lord. Loudmouth saints typically talk before they think and will attack and belittle people who are not where they should be in their walk with God. They are typically proficient when it comes knowing and teaching scripture, but are too harsh in their delivery.
2. I Am Better Than You Saints
I am better than you saints typically encourage and challenge other saints to step up their game in church. They have a very competitive nature and like to shine inside and outside of the church. They are knowledgeable and have a great deal to offer others, but they are often inpatient with people who do not meet their personal standards. They struggle with humility and walk around with their nose in the air. Their value is rooted in their recognition and status in the church.
3. Conflicted Saints
Conflicted saints keep their bodies in the church, but their souls in the world. They love attending church, but they do not make life changes to please and obey God. A majority of conflicted saints believe that they just have to repent in order to be saved. Also, conflicted saints often experience feelings that disagree with one another. For example, they will pray for and with you on Sunday and curse you out on Monday. Conflicted saints are influenced by both Godly and worldly things and often feel lost at times because they do not know what to do.
4. Blind Saints
Blind saints often lack discernment, awareness and perception, and as a result, they follow the pastor and other church leaders blindly. Blind saints struggle with spiritual integrity and serve in church with their eyes open but closed. Most blind saints have passive personalities and do not like to “rock” the boat. Despite having knowledge of wrongdoing, they will not do much to correct spiritual injustices. Blind saints believe that God will take care of things, so they do not feel the need to take any action besides praying.
5. Gentle Saints
Gentle saints are kind and talk and connect with gentleness in their hearts. They engage in righteous behavior and strive to live a Godly lifestyle inside and outside the church. Gentle saints understand that action speaks louder than words and work diligently to win people over by acts of kindness. They possess high levels of integrity and are not afraid to let others know that they are soldiers for God, not man. Gentle saints are sensitive to the needs, struggles and desires of others. They win souls by exhibiting and displaying calmness.
Understanding and Accountability
As a saint who was raised in the church, I was often told that people come to church to find themselves. My mother frequently told me that no two saints are the same. As a child, this was confusing to me because I believed that all saints were the same and came to church so that they could learn how to live holy and virtuous. I viewed church as this perfect place for healing and associated holiness and virtuous with being perfect.
As an adult, I now understand that the church is not perfect place because people are not perfect. While this is clear to me now, I still believe that healing should take place in the church. With this in mind, I believe that healing begins in the church by holding Loudmouth, I am Better than You, Conflicted and Blind saints accountable for their actions.
Satan is working overtime. Therefore, we do not have any room for error as saints. Division in the church contributes to division in the community. As saints we must all reflect on our actions inside and outside of the church and ask ourselves, “What Kind of Saint am I?”
If you are not a Gentle Saint, please strive to become one because millions of unsaved and troubled souls are depending on it. Be blessed.
If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to email@example.com
Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.