So here are a few comments that I keep hearing about the church. “It’s our church so we go.” “It’s full of sinners, you just have to accept that’s the way it’s going to be.” “It’s not perfect, but you still need to go.” “That’s just the way they are, we need to show grace.” “Every church is good at some things, you need to find the one that’s right for you.” I have spent years trying to figure out how to answer these false statements but seem to struggle at every turn. For those of you reading this that like to jump to conclusions, this is not an anti-church blog. On the contrary, it is a pro-Biblical church blog and a call to many to look in the mirror; to see what they are justifying instead of fixing.
It’s kind of funny, really, when you step back and look at it. If every time you took your car to a mechanic where it never got fixed and sometimes got worse, would you still go to that mechanic…nope. What would you do if you took your clothes to the dry cleaner and when you went to pick them up they were mostly clean, except for one new stain that wasn't there before. When you inquire about the stains the answer is, “That’s just the way it is.” My bet is you’re never going back.
For the sake of space, I am going to break the building blocks of the church down into a few simple points (this is because there is not room to quote all 66 books of the Bible here). The Church is where we are to learn and grow in Christ together. The Church is where we are to eat, pray and worship together. The Church brings people together who, outside of Christ, would never hang out together. The Church meets peoples’ needs. Finally, the Church lives life together praising God in all that they do. When the Church does all of these things it grows and is healthy.
Now, the comment I hear all over the place is, “but people are sinners, it doesn’t work that way.” One of my mentors in ministry puts it this way, “the Church is God’s perfect institution entrusted to sinful people.” The Church will never be perfect and we do need to operate with grace. What we can’t do is ignore mistakes, ignorance and sins in the name of grace. We need to repent of our mistakes, ignorance and sins, seek reconciliation and make the necessary changes to prevent it from happening again. When we justify mistakes, ignorance and sins in our churches, we hurt people and lose track of the foundation of the church.
Here is the painful reality many in churches are unwilling to accept. Church is not an excuse. Regardless if it’s a mistake, something done in ignorance or a sin, it is something that needs to be identified, repented of and not repeated. When these things are ignored and justified they are rewarded and they replace the Biblical building blocks of the church. Churches with these weaker foundations still do some good but are like an engine running on five of it’s eight cylinders. They have all sorts of great stories that sound good about things happening in their church but are leaving a wake of spiritually and emotionally hurt people.
What is sad about this problem is it has a simple fix. If your car needs oil, you add oil, you don’t say, “that’s the way it is.” If we make a mistake, we need to say we are sorry and work hard to not repeat the mistake. If we don’t, then we are now justifying our actions and are guilty of sinning. We need to listen to others and the Holy Spirit so we can recognize when we have done something wrong and instead of justifying it we need to make amends, repent and take actions to keep it from ever happening again. The goal is not to be perfect, it is to help people, not to hurt them. Because what is rewarded is repeated, what isn’t corrected is assumed to be correct. It kills me to hear church leaders sit around asking why their church isn’t growing, while refusing to look in the mirror or the wake they are leaving. If they did, they would see what building blocks they need to attend to. We can only fix that which we are willing to look at. So don’t be afraid to identify what’s wrong in your church and fix it.
Outdoorsman, Producer, Firefighter & Public Speaker