Today was Sunday, and like so many other Sundays I spent my morning thinking about and preparing for church.
I have been to church almost every Sunday of my life.
Some of the seats I’ve sat in, I’ve loved. Some, not so much.
I’ve been to Catholic services, to liturgical Baptist Churches on the East Coast, to mega churches, famous churches, tiny churches, churches with professional musicians and churches that literally do not believe in instruments being inside a church. I’ve been to church in the middle of a field in a third world country. I’ve been to churches where I am the only white person, and churches were I didn’t even speak the language. I’ve seen pastors speak with so much pride and I have wondered how anyone could follow them. I have seen humble pastors. And I’ve heard testimonies of changed lives beyond what is comprehensible. I’ve seen healthy churches. And I’ve seen unhealthy churches.
But in all those churches…Between all those walls and stained glass murals. Between the notes of the hymns and the smiles of the faithful, you start to get a feeling for what is real and what is ceremony…
And that is the giant wall that faces so many with glaring condemnation: the false gospel.
Oh! We don’t like to call it that. But for every church striving to be the hands and feet of Jesus, there are five ahead of it so introspective that “missions” haven’t changed in two decades and salvations are mere conjecture.
What on earth are we doing? The point of The Church is to G R O W! The point of church is to live vulnerably in community. The point of church is to change your heart to be more like Jesus while walking through life alongside the Body of Christ.
This is why I love The Church: because Jesus loves The Church. Because the Bible is riddled with story after story of the importance of The Church. I don’t love The Church because it’s “perfect” or because of a type of music or because of a hipster pastor. And I’m well past the notion that church needs to look or feel a certain way.
Church was NEVER meant to fulfill you: God was. Church was NEVER meant to be empty of sin…it was meant to be a Gathering of Souls striving relentlessly toward Holiness, toward furthering the Gospel, toward discipleship.
It takes an immense amount of work to sustain a healthy church. So, if you happen to be part of one…thank your leaders for all the work that goes on behind the scenes.
Why does church matter: honestly, because the Bible says it does.
And because God knows what we need.