ronniemcbrayer300 blackKENTUCKY (11/3/13) - Making my usual pastoral rounds at the local hospital some time ago, I witnessed the most unusual of circumstances. A dilapidated Buick had jumped the parking lot curb and had crash-landed in the flower garden just outside the main doors. The driver’s door was wide open, and a group of hurried and harried medical staff was doing something to someone in the driver’s seat.

My curiosity was far too strong, so I slipped out of the hospital lobby to get a closer look. To my astonishment, a baby was being delivered right there in the front floorboard of that car. Thank God I didn’t stumble upon this situation alone, for in the magnificent words of the late Butterfly McQueen, “I don’t know nothin’ ‘bout birthin’ no babies!”

All I could do was offer quiet prayers – for the laboring mother, for the new life struggling to be born, for the skilled and steady hands of the medical staff, and for myself – that I not pass out and create a secondary medical emergency. Within minutes the child, a boy, was born (more through the efforts of the mom, midwives, and nurses, not my prayers), and within days the two patients left the hospital in excellent health (in that same Buick, by the way).

Granted, this birth was not typical. Some mothers labor for hours. Some children enter the world only by surgical intervention. Some babies are born in a maternity ward, some at home, some with a cadre of attending physicians, and indeed, some are born in the most bizarre of environments. What they all have in common is this: When it comes to birth, every newborn needs all the help he or she can get, to ensure good health.

This, as I see it, should be the calling of the church. Congregations should provide safe, welcoming environments for faith to be born within people. Churches should strive to be delivery rooms where the new in faith can grow, be nurtured, and become the people God wants them to be.

There are many helpful images that define the church’s mission. It is a hospital providing healing to the sick and injured. It is a fuel station for those who are exhausted. It is a banquet hall of grace open to all who will feast at God’s table. But let us not forget our role as incubators of developing faith, skilled midwives who assist with spiritual birth.

And as it is with physical birth, spiritual birth is not an invariable experience. Some come to faith easy and early, like they can’t wait to get here, and all you have to do catch them. Others get wedged in the birth canal with philosophical, spiritual, and emotional sticking points. Others arrive in grand fashion, genuinely born again, but quickly lose their way.

There are the doubters, the skeptics, the seekers, the confused, the angry, the stuck, the ready, the breeched, the premature, and those needing intensive neonatal care. None of these are targets of our marketing efforts. These aren’t clients, customers, or converts. They aren’t potential new members, and definitely not those whose vulnerability and needs should be used against them. These are precious people on the road to some kind of spiritual birth. Our role is to simply help their personal, unique faith emerge.

In my own individual journey of faith, so many people have helped me, people with a soft touch but strong, steady hands. Few of these helpers ever lectured me, formally “discipled” me, twisted my arm, force-fed me Bible verses, or beat me over the head with the latest and greatest new book guaranteed to revolutionize my life.

No, recognizing that something new was struggling to be born, they were there to gently guide, encourage, support, and coach me. They dove right in – right where they found me – skilled midwives, who let me know that life and faith are worth their struggles. And when the pain of labor has passed, the anguish gives way to joy – for all – for faith has been born in the world.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.


Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

Posted on 2/2/14
3/13 - 16
3/13 - 16

Most Read This Week

July 27, 2015 5974

Death of Central City Man in Dawson Springs Under…

by SurfKY News
July 27, 2015 3799

School System Announces Free Lunch/Breakfast at…

by SurfKY News
July 30, 2015 3401

Webster Man Leads Police on Chase through Parts…

by SurfKY News
July 31, 2015 3355

Miss Hopkins County Fair 2015 Chosen

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
July 28, 2015 2608

Hanson, Owensboro, Bowling Green Youths Win at…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

July 17, 2015 16354

Muhlenberg Most Wanted - Top 10

by SurfKY News
July 23, 2015 15326

UPDATE: Family Confirms Body of Missing Teen…

by Shawn Freels, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Now

July 31, 2015 3355

Miss Hopkins County Fair 2015 Chosen

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
August 01, 2015 2221

24th Annual Miss Teen Hopkins County Fair Pageant…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
August 01, 2015 2077

Little Miss, Mister Hopkins County Fair Chosen

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
August 01, 2015 1482

'Diggers' Return to Find More Hatfield-McCoy…

by SurfKY News
July 31, 2015 1283

State Fair President Commends Hopkins County Fair…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
July 31, 2015 1127

Hopkins District Court Fines Handed Down

by SurfKY News
August 01, 2015 1026

Knight Crowned 2015 Miss Pre-Teen Hopkins County…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
July 31, 2015 986

House of Onyx's Crystal Gallery Opens in…

by SurfKY News
July 31, 2015 877

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports Released

by SurfKY News
August 01, 2015 857

One Injured in Vehicle Roll-Over Accident

by SurfKY News