Yep, I am one of those cliche people that sees all the things that American church is doing wrong.
We run it like a business.
We make it a show.
Why are there so many dang programs?
Why does everyone think we need to volunteer for everything, but doesn't even notice we've been gone for 6 weeks?
Is it really a "community" or just a club?
Am I just a spoiled rotten American brat? Pretty much.
Frankly there are a lot of things church does right.
When we are all together, singing with one voice, a truly meaningful song - we worship Him.
When my kids come out of their class I know they heard the truth of the Word.
When people get to exercise their gifts in the service of the church, God is glorified.
When we are truly together, it is good.
I am free to worship publicly.
I have the privilege to own a Bible.
I have the right to complain and not fear of repercussions.
I have so much more than I deserve.
Yes, maybe I have an vague idea of how my perfect "church" would work, because it is easy to create this mythical place in my brain, you know, without all the people.
I've asked myself the questions:
"Is this where God wants me to be?"
"It this the right fit" (Whatever the heck that means.)
"Do these people even know me?"
"Is this church on the same path that God is leading me toward?"
"Am I using my gifts here? Is there a place for me to serve, without trying to fit this square peg into a round hole?"
And the final question - "Well, where else would we go?"
That question is always answered in one of two ways -
a) I have no idea - every church has it's issues.
b) I have no idea - it's not like we even have a real problem here.
|Image borrowed from Relevant|
1. When I look around my church, is it filled with people I admire, respect, and trust as people who love God and seek to do His will?
I'm not asking if you think the pastor is the next Billy Graham, or if your children's ministry is cutting edge, or if you have the best band in the world. Today, I looked around my church and one after one, I turned to Norse and said something like "I sure appreciate him." or I thought to myself, "She is such an amazing woman." My church is filled with people I admire, not because of what they do, but because of who they are. I bet yours is too.
2. Is there someone in this church that I know God has put in my life to walk along side, whatever may come?
We have seen conflict come and go in our congregation. Some things ended well, with reconciliation, some things did not. Every time we have sought out truth, from the source(s) and prayed for wisdom. Every time God has shown us families that have come into our lives during that time, ones that had just started coming to church, or just moved to town, or people we had just become friends with, that we felt committed to walk with, through whatever were to come. Every time, it was worth it and obvious that we did the right thing.
When it all boils down to the nitty gritty, church is the people and my commitment is never really to our "church", but to people. It is a commitment to the people that God has put in my heart, to love. Wherever those people are, that is the church that I will attend, regardless of the band, or the building, or the programs, or the pastor.
And I promise I'll try to stop being a whiny baby.
P.S - If anyone from my church's staff reads this, take note - I know you are working your fanny off, you're doing the best you can, and I will not admit to being the best parishioner. My heart has got nothing but love for you, even if sometimes our methods would be different. Thanks for all you do!