It is surprising how re-discovering this booklet A Spiritual Check-Up triggered other memories. Because I found it truly challenging, in my first year of ministry I thought I should suggest that my church members in Blackburn should undergo its check!
I believed it would be best if I asked my fellow leaders to undertake it with me as a first step. I had twelve deacons - all older than me (I was only 27) - and I broached the issue with one of them, a good friend, who I thought would be the most sympathetic. Carefully I described how this little book had impacted me and I showed it to him. I was willing to buy more copies to share around if he thought it was a good idea.
Instead of support he reacted strongly and negatively. He said that it was completely unsuitable for the church and left me in no doubt that he wouldn't be changing his mind. His rejection was emphatic and complete. I wondered what his reasons were. (I know...I should have asked but I was really shaken by the rejection). He was a prayerful man and it could have been that he felt the kind of questioning in a Spiritual Check-up needed prayerful hearts to start with....and the church wasn't there yet. Perhaps it was a blunt: 'I know this church and there is no way people would do this (and they'd only think that you as a young minister was laying a guilt-trip on them).
All I know is that it does need prayerful open hearts to open up to a spiritual check-up and rather than laying a guilt-trip on us, God intends us to grow through his forgiveness and strength to do his will more and more. I know it's a high standard but...it is a high standard!