I grew up in the church.... Heck, I'm a preacher's kid. So I guess you could say I've seen just about every aspect of church life. I've seen the good, the bad, the ugly and the outrageous. And, believe it or not, I purposefully chose to stick with the church. I've been a youth pastor, worship leader, lead pastor and now a church planter. I've had MANY roles in the church. And... even through all of that, I still love the church. I love the church with all of my heart.
But, I have realized that far too often something is missing from the church. Really it is 2 things.
First, too many church people believe that the church is for church people. Or, that the church is meant for Christians. While the church is most often the place where Christians gather, build community and encourage each other... I personally do not believe that the church was created for church people. After all, when Jesus started the church.... There really weren't any church people! Pretty faulty way of getting a world-wide franchise off the ground and going if you ask me. I also disagree that it's just for Christians. I wasn't a Christian myself, but gave my life to Jesus inside the church when I was 13 years old. I believe that God created the church so lost people would know where to go to find Jesus. And, what they would find is a group of people who unconditionally love each other.... which leads to my second thought....
The church is for messy people, not people who have it all together. Unfortunately, church culture has become so set for pretty people, that messy hurting people are scared to come anywhere near the church. The church seems to have often become a social club for the religious elite and outwardly perfect. When Jesus started the church it was filled with crazy, messy and not-so perfect people. After all, Jesus chose Peter, a loud mouth, arrogant, insecure man to lead the church. So, where did we begin believing that the church was created for a certain kind of people?
The reality is that Jesus loved, and still loves, people who were not like Him. And, people who were, and are not, like Jesus, absolutely love Him. I believe our churches should look the same. Our churches should be a place where messy, hurting people can come, find hope and feel loved no matter what is happening in their lives. And, most importantly, encounter Jesus!
What do you think?