One crucial step in making your church a vital church is toleration. I said to the Board before I was called that there are some people in every congregation who need a sign hung around their neck that says, “Extra grace required.” No matter how small the church, there’s always at least one person and everyone else needs to understand and be tolerant.
When I think of the critical need for toleration, I am reminded of the parable of the lost sheep. The shepherd leaves the ninety-nine to seek out the one. My guess is the one was the sheep that said something off the wall and the ninety-nine pushed him out. We can’t afford to push people out. So we need to be like the Good Shepherd and seek out the one (the one that made some ridiculous comment or did something crazy) and bring them into the fold. If we don’t, then we need to prepare to close the church – because it’s going to die.