/// Simply put…I LOVE THE CHURCH! There’s something special about a community of believers who meet, fellowship, engage, equip, and pursue one another. And we do all this because we are concerned with one common factor. Together, the church gets to communally worship the triune God and celebrate the life given through Jesus Christ. It is because of this intention that I love the church.
My love for the church goes beyond a ministerial vocation. I care about the church in its good times and its bad times. Many of us only accept the church in its good times, and when the bad times creep in to the congregation we tuck tail and run the other way. Why is that? What if we treated other institutions of value the same way? I love my wife and my family. I truly believe they have to be from God to put up with me. But the love I have for my family is not conditional. My love is not based on what I gain or lose, but is solely based on my calling to love Jesus Christ and to reflect the love Christ has for me into my family. Should we not have the same identity when it comes to our concern for the church.
Imagine if you came home and your spouse had performed in such a way that you perceived a wrong. Say they picked a different style of music than you like, or they quoted you a verse of scripture from a different translation than you agree with…what would your response be? Imagine your kids do something that goes against your established law in the house. Would you proceed to exile them or move into the home of another family? I would truly bet not.
However, we take this approach when it comes to the organizational management of what we like to call church. I’ll be the first to tell you that an organization with good intentions can still make poor decisions. I wouldn’t expect anything less. I do it in my own life all the time, so why would I think that an entire group of individuals with the same sin issues would not be responsible for making similar mistakes. THAT IS WHY I LOVE THE CHURCH!! Not because of what it does right or wrong, but because it is called by God to be the extension of his love and grace in a broken world.
This is why I love revitalization and renewal. Congregations need grace. They lose purpose and focus by getting distracted with matters that have no eternal value. When they do that, people get hurt in the process. But renewal provides them with the opportunity to regain purpose, perspective, and focus. It allows them to move towards a goal that is centered on allowing Jesus Christ to be the head of their local congregation.
So if you ask me I will say, “I love the church for the simple fact that it needs the grace of God daily.” I encourage you as well to love the church. God has extended his grace towards you, and I pray that you will allow God’s grace to reign within a local congregation.