How do you describe your church?
Is it relevant?
Is it engaging?
Is the music vibrant?
Are the people friendly?
These are all things to strive for, but aren’t they all subjective? If you’ve been following Broken Shepherd the past month we’ve been doing a series called “What I love about my church.” Me being the last one I couldn’t help but do something a little different. I thought about attracting some clicks by using the title: “What I hate about my church.” Trust me, I could go there. I’ve been burned. I’m sure less than others have experienced, but I must confess that I’m still working through some bitterness about the way I’ve been treated in the past. I also love those churches whether or not those churches claim me. I consider myself to be a part of them. Throughout the New Testament we see the local churches constantly sending and receiving apostles. I long for churches to view my time with them the same way. “We took him in for the Kingdom, and then we sent him off because it was time for him to be somewhere else for the Kingdom.” I’d like to believe I’d be received at any church that proclaims Jesus as Lord. So instead of heaping praise on my local church (one that like all is deserving while still having places to grow), I am going to write what I love about THE church.
I love the church because I am forgetful.
I wake up forgetting God’s goodness. I wake up with a sinful nature. I act before thinking, and sometimes without thinking. Paul said in Romans 7:15, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” I need more than my own correction. Yes, the Holy Spirit convicts, but as a church we are also commanded to “exhort and rebuke with all authority.” (Titus 2:15). Galatians 6:1 says, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” God has provided the church as a way to keep me from falling into habitual sin. I love the church because I need to be reminded.
I love the church because I am not enough
I love leading music, but in doing so I can’t run sound. I can’t sit in the nursery. I can only play one instrument and sing with one voice. A thing I will gladly do, but there is so much more power in many instruments and many voices. I don’t have the best administration skills, and I’m not a builder. I tend to break things more than fix them. I can’t run to all the corner’s of the Earth proclaiming the gospel, rather the four corners of my own town. This displays two wonderful truths: I can accomplish nothing without Christ, and I am part of a body of believers that cover a large distance and a large amount of time. Through Christ the church will fulfill its purpose. What my generation doesn’t accomplish will be handed down to the next generation and so forth.
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4: 11-13
I love the church because we are the body of Christ.
I love the church because Jesus desires us.
For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is His name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. Isaiah 54:4
And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast Mark 2:19
Jesus uses marriage terminology when referring to the church. It is him who has chosen and called us to be in a covenantal relationship with Him. It is Him who is preparing the church to be presented a holy and worthy bride at the wedding feast. Jesus desires us much like the groom desires his bride. Romantically? I think so, though it is a higher form of romance than what we think about. We are pulled to Him by so much more than an in-fatuous lust. I am not Christ’s Bride alone, but as a part of the church. I love the church because we are the bride of Christ.
I love the church because our destination is the same
What a waste of energy to have pride in our church while comparing ourselves to others. What a waste to be jealous of one church in comparison to ourselves. If we truly believe that those who believe in the resurrection and claim Jesus as Lord are saved, then we are heading in the same direction no matter whose church is big, small, relevant, or old-fashioned. I’m not saying to ignore scriptural doctrine when choosing what church to attend. I encourage you to weigh this carefully, but we are all fallible. We will all see the gap between our earthly knowledge and the complete truth of God in all his revealed glory in Heaven. I love the church because we are unified through Christ.