I’m not sure how they can avoid seeing it since it’s so apparent to those of us sitting in the pews every week. Something’s very wrong with us.
Oh, it’s not just one something. It must be many things or some systemic problem because like a twisted version of the blind men and the elephant, each of us describes the brokenness of our little congregation in a slightly different fashion.
It’s the music, the pastor, the prayer, the lack of . . ., the abundance of . . ., the pewsitters, it’s them, it’s her, it’s him, it’s me.
I wonder, often, why God called me to this little imperfect local fellowship. I was fine where I was, thank you.
The place I’d chosen to worship just prior to coming here came highly recommended. The congregation was full of creative people. The service was designed with my minimalist tastes in mind. Passionate, biblical preaching. Energetic worshipers. Contemporary, well-executed music. Casual dress. Subtle technology. Devout followers of Christ making every effort to reach the city in which they worshiped.
Which was the problem God had with my being there – it wasn’t my city.
In fact, my city isn’t a city at all. My city is a little town that isn’t even really a town – just a village in a town. Every time the leaders of the perfect church talked about their passion for reaching their city, I heard God whisper the name of my own community.
Right. The souls on the street where I live matter to Jesus. And He wants them to matter to me.
Besides, there was something wrong with that perfect church, too. I didn’t belong there. It felt perfect to me, in part, because I wasn’t on the same mission with them. I wasn’t fighting in the same trench so my view lacked the details people see up close. It was the perfect church to visit but God didn’t want me living there.
So, I listened (not quickly, but eventually). I showed up at the church with something wrong with it in the community where I live. No one is perfect there and the worship reflects that. No one has hit the mark. No one is all grown up in Jesus. No one is flawless. I feel right at home.
I feel at home, but not comfortable. I’m uncomfortable because the Spirit of God is on the move and I feel His breath on my neck during the service, I sense His touch on my face as He moves among us, I hear Him enter like a rush of wind with the promise that soon He will remain longer. It’s the discomfort I feel at the start of a trip, a journey, an adventure. I’m packed and ready but who knows what I’ll encounter along the way?
This discomfort makes my little church the perfect place to worship. The perfect place to worship is the place where God is at work because watching Him work inspires worship.
When I was younger in the Lord, I thought that when people complained that things weren’t right, something should be done about it. I thought the pathway to community in the church was to hear everyone’s complaints, address them, make compromises, and build alliances.I don’t know if I believe this anymore.
Now, I wonder if when people start complaining, when people get restless, when people start asking, “what’s wrong with this church anyway?”, I wonder if that’s when the people of God should say,
“Listen, God is on the move and right before He moves – just like a storm – the air pressure builds and people feel uncomfortable. Endure the discomfort. Seek the Lord. Ask for the Holy Spirit to come. Pack lightly and be ready when He blows the church doors open.”
After the wind. After the earthquake. After the fire. God’s going to ask you a question. “What are you doing here?” Do you know what you will answer?
For me, the answer will be, “I’ve been waiting for you.” Because in any church, the most important question isn’t how you worship, or how many people worship beside you, or what style music do you use, the most important question is does God show up in your midst.
Is there something wrong with your church?
If it’s not preaching, teaching, living biblical truth, abandon ship. If it’s teaching biblical truth but no one is putting it into practice, repent and pray for the Holy Spirit to move and work in your midst.
Are you worshiping in the perfect church? Beware. That could be because you haven’t gotten close enough to see its faults. There’s more danger in keeping your distance than there is risking opening your heart to other faulted believers.
It’s been with us since a heartbeat after Pentecost – the imperfect church. But the true church’s power is not in perfection, the power is in the presence of Jesus Christ.
The perfect church for you is the church to which you are called, the place assigned to you by God.
If you’re in tune with the Holy Spirit, you’ll know if you’re where He’s assigned you to be. If you’re not, seek the Lord through prayer. Tell Him that more than the perfect worship experience, more than perfect church family, more than perfect music and mission, more than all that – you want to be where He is.
Ask Him to lead you THERE. Then, pack for an adventure . . .
— Lori Roeleveld (@lorisroeleveld) July 6, 2017