The church has been on my heart and mind much lately. It is a heavy weight when you see what God’s people can do to one another; what they do to hurt one another.
Sometimes is it unintentional and innocent. Sometimes it isn’t.
Chris and I have moved around quite a bit over the past 10 years. We’ve been members of 5 different churches since we’ve been married, and I was a member of another before we were engaged. We’ve seen great models of leadership as well as great failures. We’ve served alongside men and women who truly “get it” — the purpose of the church and their roll in it. We’ve also witnessed men and women who seem so far away from God’s heart for the church that it gives me a greater appreciation for God’s kindness and patience. (Because if it were up to me…thankfully it isn’t.)
My hope for each of you is…
You are an active member of a vibrant, Gospel-centered church. There is no perfect church or perfect pastor, so if you are waiting for that ideal church to pop up in your neighborhood you might never become a member of a church. Membership should be taken seriously. We should not rush into the commitment, but we should not skirt it either. The church is the bride of Christ, and not being a member of a local church is like saying that you would like to be friends with my husband, but ignore me. The bride and the groom go together. You cannot have one without the other.
You understand that church is not all about you. Yep, that’s right. The pastor’s job is not to make you happy, and the church does not exist to make you comfortable. God designed the church to be a reflection of His glory, and when you and I bicker about worship style or where the pews should be situated, we waste time and we shame the name of Christ.
You have a steadfast commitment to the Word of God above all else. Above what makes sense to you. Above the traditions you’ve enjoyed. Above what the by-laws of the church say. Above what your friends and family thinks is right. If we walk away from God’s Word as our foundation as a church or as individuals we are treading into dangerous, volital territory
You are willing to follow the Spirit of God where He leads. If that means change, then change is good. If that means no change where you think there should be, then stay put and don’t make waves. God is our faithful, loving shepard and He has good plans for us, even when we can’t see what is on the horizon. Keeping in step with the Spirit is always what is best and safest.
What our churches would look like if we all got a vision for God’s plans for our lives and congregation! How we would truly be reflections of His glory if we got out of the way and let Him move, instead of cling to our own plans!
Praying that we will each be willing to lay down our selfish ways and follow Him…starting with me.
What are your hopes and prayers for the church today?
Katie, thank you. It’s refreshing to hear about what we can hope for and believe in for the church, this broken and beautiful bride. My hope and prayer for the church is that we will see our place, our role in the work of spreading God’s Word. No matter what culture we come from, we all end up dying and living by the Word. So, I am invested in her health! We have much to do, as His bride.
Yes we do, Marilyn! Thanks for your comment.
Wow! I thought I was reading my story in the first paragraph. My husband’s name is Chris. I went to a different church in a different denomination before we were engaged. We’ve been to three others since we’ve been married and haven’t been to church physically since December. Thank you for this exhortation.
The church is a mess. A big bunch of sinners trying to figure out how to look like Jesus — and that is from those who actually “get it”. Praying you are encouraged, and can find a church home soon…
Thanks for sharing!
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