How do you view church?
I believe that too often people look at the church from the underside. They see the hypocrites, they view the stain glassed windows, the fancy dress, the thundering preachers, and frankly, it does not fill them with delight. Usually conversations about church focus on the problems, the excesses and the sins of the church. The church is the brunt of jokes. The church is the object of ridicule. At best it seems irrelevant, at worst it seems judgmental. I often hear about how what’s wrong with the church. My in-box fills with emails from people who see the church in a negative light.
I choose to see the church differently.
I agree all is not as it should be, and while that troubles me, it does not fill me with dread. Growth is a process not an event. So I choose to see the church and its progress rather than the church and its failings. I admit that sometimes seeing the church this way takes more strenuous reflection, more careful digging, but the result is worth the effort.
I choose to see God at work in the conversations which build the body up. I choose to see the growth in grace that is part of daily ministering to people. I choose to view the church as a refuge and a solace, not a bother and a discouragement. I choose to see the body as a family, not a failing. I choose to see the body as it really is, grounded, growing, yet imperfect, instead of boring, indifferent, yet required. I choose to see the church as a place of hope, help and healing instead of seeing it as a place of hang-ups, rules and obligations. I choose to come to church because I know there is grace here. I choose to come to church because I know there God can use me in the lives of others. I choose to go to church because I am excited to see how God will use others to change me. I go to church to serve, although I usually end up being served.
Let me ask, how do you view the church? The way you approach church will largely affect the impact of your church in your life and in the lives of others. Where would your church be, if everyone thought about church the way you do?