How do you like your church? If you are a part of a local congregation, what do you like most about attending there, and what would you change if you could? Maybe you are even one of those people who say ‘I like everything about my church’, which is great, but would everyone else say the same thing there? If we ask ourselves, most of us could come up with a few reasons why we attend church at the place we do, whether it is because we grew up there and know everyone pretty well, or because we like the pastor, or they have a great children’s ministry, or for the coffee and snacks after the service, etc. There are a lot of things that could draw people to attend a church. Before we got married, my wife and I visited several churches that we considered going to, and we considered several of these things and others in deciding where to go. You can even go on a church website to find out the church governance and affiliations, what is their mission, core values, and what are their stated beliefs. Or you can sit in the parking lot and see how many people run to their cars after a service to decide how friendly they might be. What factors led you to the place you currently worship?
For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. Matthew 18:20
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25
This past year, I visited several times with a friend I had met decades ago at a church in the Quad Cities when we were both pretty young. We both agreed at that time, this congregation was probably the best church we had ever been part of for a variety of reasons. They met in a former funeral home in a rough section of downtown Davenport and had ministries and outreach to people nearby, who wouldn’t normally set foot in a church. The worship was amazing and the congregations was the most eclectic mix of people I had ever seen, with many recent converts who had changed their lifestyles 180’. The pastor had great teaching, but it was a cell-based church with groups of 5-12 people who met in homes weekly for fellowship and basically a mini-church service. It was a big part of my life for about three years and I still remember it fondly 20 years later. My friend was really wanting to be a part of a group of believers like that again, but was struggling to find all that again now, and so was I, but maybe that was a different season in our lives.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16
One problem with most churches is that its made up of people. The problem with people is that they are still sinners and struggle to always get things right and with 2 or more people, there is always politics, jealousy, greed, envy, anger, and other things that can try to claw their way into those relationships, even in a church. The question my wife and I struggled with is whether to look for and join the ‘perfect church fit’ for us, or whether we try to be a positive influence for change in an imperfect church. The truth is that all churches are imperfect, but some are just better at hiding their imperfections than others. This brokenness should lead us to confession and repentance both corporately and individually, so that that the God we worship can work in and among us to bring about healing and growth. When churches become institutions managed by men instead of being governed by God, they tend to get off track and miss their real mission. So, even if you like your current church, let us always work toward allowing God to sanctify us into becoming more of what He wants us to be.
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready. Revelation 19:7
Yours in Christ,