Sunday

6 Things that Are Right about the Church

I bet you could list five things you don’t like about your church. Maybe ten. 

The pastor preaches too long. 
Or not long enough. 
The music is too loud, 
or too traditional, 
or too contemporary. 
It doesn’t have enough programs. 
It’s too hot. 
It’s too cold. 
The service starts too early. 
Someone’s always asking you to volunteer.

Or maybe you haven’t joined a church, because churches are: 

Full of hypocrites. 

Always asking for money. 

Unfriendly.

If you google “complaints people have about church,” you’ll find dozens of articles. In response to the sometimes overwhelming negativity against the church, I’m going to be counter-cultural and tell you what’s right about most Christian churches. 

The pastor preaches God’s Word. 

He studies. He thinks, and he prays. He’s always wondering, how can I make this principle come alive? He worries, too, when he has to say hard things. But he says them anyway, because he loves his congregation and God more than he loves being popular. 

The pastor loves you. 

You’re seldom far from his mind. He carries you like a lamb on his shepherd shoulders everywhere he goes. Some nights he doesn’t sleep well, because he’s thinking and praying for you. That wayward teen? He’s praying for him. That broken marriage? He prays about that, too. He notices when you miss a week, or two, or three. 

Many people there love God with all their hearts. 

They’re trying their best to follow him. They serve selflessly, give sacrificially, and invest their time and talent into the church. They don’t always get it right, but they try. They clean bathrooms, vacuum floors, and set up tables. They teach your children, bring meals when you’re sick, and lend a hand when you need help. Their actions are motivated by their love for God, and as they serve you, they’re serving him. 

There are also baby Christians there. And non-Christians. 

This is good, and as it should be. A church should attract people in every stage of spiritual growth. Keep this in mind when someone disappoints you, or behaves “unspiritually” or immaturely. Breathe grace and remember how mature believers nurtured you in your spiritual infancy. Set the example, come alongside, and don’t judge. 

It’s imperfect because people are imperfect. 

“They that are well need not a physician,” Jesus said long ago, and the principle holds true today. The church isn’t a finishing school. It’s a hospital where the dying receive new life. It’s where the broken are mended, and the wounded are healed. Like a hospital, it’s messy and sometimes painful. It’s also one of the most hope-filled places around. Its doors are always open, and there are people who care. 

Jesus lives there. Jesus didn’t die for the para-church organizations. He didn’t die for podcasts, and he certainly didn’t die so people could look down their self-righteous noses and criticize his family. Flawed as the church is, Jesus chose to ordain it as his hands and feet. “Upon this rock, I will build my church,” he said, “and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” 

He entrusted to the church the Holy Scriptures, the sacraments, and the mission of sharing the Gospel with the world. In the church he inhabits the praises of his people and transforms both baby believers and spiritual saints. 

I’ll be the first to acknowledge that the church isn’t perfect. But it is God’s family. Maybe instead of criticizing, we should identify what’s wrong and try to make it right. Or if we can’t change it, we should just accept it. Like the family member who’s socially awkward and a little slow, we should look past the superficial and into the heart. If we do, I bet we’ll see Jesus there. 

Now it’s your turn. What’s right about your church? What do you love about it? Leave a comment in the box below and share your thoughts. If you’re reading by email, click HERE to visit Hungry for God online, scroll to the bottom of the post, and leave a comment.



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10 comments:

  1. What an uplifting post, Lori. You're right--it's easy to notice and point out the negative things in church but focus is everything. Thanks for showing us the positive side of things in church.

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    1. I notice that about myself too, Ellen, and I really want to change that in the new year and beyond. Thanks for being a faithful, interactive reader and friend.

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  2. The folks at my church really serve each other. They share life and help meet needs.

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    1. Mine is like that too, Lori, and I love being a part of that type of community. Doing life together is so fun. Happy new year!

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  3. Beautifully written, Lori! What a privilege it is to be part of a church full of imperfect people who serve a perfect God!

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    1. Amen, Vonda. There is no greater joy than to do life with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Merry Christmas!

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  4. My Church communicated a message that saved my life - that's a perfect message for an imperfect being.

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    1. Beautiful, John. Me too, and I will be forever grateful. Keep shining for Him!

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  5. Show me a church full of perfect people and I'll show you a church full of highly skilled liars. Jesus didn't come for the perfect, He came for us--every man, woman, and child. As God pointed out, not one of us is perfect. So, my heart breaks for those who stay away from churches because of the imperfect people. It breaks because those who shun the church are choosing a life of loneliness and misery. Thank you, Lori, for this timely reminder that we should never lose site of who we were when Jesus called us, and that we should do our best to share the joy He has waiting for ALL who will come to Him. God bless you.

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    1. Well said, Bruce. The church is flawed, frail, and fragile because we are flawed, frail, and fragile. But it's also beautiful. Being part of God's family on earth is a joy and a privilege. Thanks for sharing your eloquent insights.

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