Can we talk for a minute? Like really talk?
I want to go on record…
I love the church. I love the local church. I love the church abroad. I love the rural church. I love the metropolitan church. I love the small church. I love the mega-church. I love parachurch ministries. I love biker churches. I love cowboy churches. I love hipster churches. I love traditional churches. I love churches with incredible lights and media. I love churches with stained glass windows. I love churches that sing songs from the latest Bethel album. I love churches that sing hymns. I even love churches that sing Elevation and Hillsong…even Hillsong United.
I love any collective waving the banner of Jesus.
Oddly enough, I have a slight pause in posting this because it isn’t really trendy to love the church. Everyone has become a professional church critic. Interestingly, everyone with a take considers themselves experienced enough, knowledgable enough, and authoritative enough to pick the church apart. Basically, the quickest, cheapest route to church notoriety is to consistently and relentlessly correct some part of the church that is problematic. Do you think I’m wrong? Go to Twitter, spend a few minutes looking up various ministers…
The church isn’t loving enough.
The church has become too focused on love.
The church’s problem is an inconsistent message.
The real problem with evangelicalism is they love politics.
The church is too liberal.
The church loves Trump too much.
The church isn’t supportive enough of Trump.
The church is wrong about homosexuality.
The church doesn’t fight enough for abortion.
The church vacated its place of prayer and that’s why we have abortion.
The church doesn’t care about issues of racism.
Jesus was a refugee and the church is too dumb to realize that.
These jokers misinterpreted the Bible and called Jesus a refugee, they are what’s wrong with the church.
The church cares more about growing than they do souls.
The church is becoming too worldly.
The church isn’t relevant enough.
Shall I continue?
All the more, if you happen to be assigned by God as a steward of His church…a leader…the constant critique of how effective a church is…what is their methodology…don’t forget their theology.
Don’t mis-hear me. I completely agree there needs to be a standard. I can spot the difference between excellence and poor effort. We all can see the difference between self-serving and Jesus serving. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, or a church growth guru to identify when things aren’t going well.
I just get exhausted with the mass obsession of criticizing and fixing HIS church. It’s the Bride of Christ. The assimilation of the sons and daughters of God. The holy nation, the royal priesthood.
It’s so easy to get caught up in methodology, philosophy, and theology and miss the simplicity of people joined by the Spirit, loving God. The next time you take a look at HIS church…
Take off the effectiveness lens.
Take off the strategy lens.
Take off the “we’ve got so much to do” lens.
Take off the preference lens.
Take off the “we are getting it so wrong in so many ways” lens.
Take off the morally superior lens.
Can I pause for a moment? In reference to a comment Jordan Peterson made, we often take on a grand, broad, morality conquest, in some odd attempt to bury the lead…the lead being the fact that we get it so wrong in so many ways in our own personal lives. We seem to enjoy doing that odd thing Jesus warned against, where we try to remove specks while craning our neck to see around the plank.
The next time you look at HIS church, put on the JESUS lens. Try to see the church as something, someone, to love rather than fix.