“Here's the story of the Christian faith: We love the church. Jesus loves the church. Jesus loves us, and we love him back.” – Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill Church pastor
I sure am glad the church is filled with imperfect people, because I would hate to pretend that I was perfect so I could attend.
I hear a lot of preachers talk about how no one is perfect. They hammer this point home, but most of the people I know realize they aren’t perfect. They realize they are flawed. They realize other people are flawed. So if no one’s perfect and we know that no one else is perfect, why do we expect such perfection from everyone?
Well, frankly, I know why we expect it from some people. We expect perfection from our church in particular because Christ is perfect. We’re supposed to be mirror images of Christ, right?
True. But so far I’ve never met a perfect church. I’ve never gone to a church where everyone in it agreed with me on everything and did every item I wanted. Thank God for that, because, as much as I hate to admit it, I’m sure I’m wrong every now and then. ;)
I cannot state enough about how much I do love my church. I love my Sunday school class, I love my friends from the church, and I love our church staff. I love the ministries, the opportunities, and the worship. I am quite grateful for my church and my church's leadership. I am encouraged my the leadership's vision, and I am thankful to worship with this body of believers.
Gasp – do I attend a perfect church?
Of course not.
But that doesn’t mean that I love my church any less. I’m not a perfect person by any means, and I’m technically, I guess, a leader in the church, as I teach Sunday school. But if I am looking for perfection, all I need to look to is our God. Not a human. We’re all fallible, therefore all churches are fallible. Jesus is not.
I want to bring people into our church, not push them away. How can I do that if all I do is bash my church? I can’t. It’s hard enough to get people to come to church! I don’t want to do anything to give them an additional reason to stay away from the Christian faith.
Since I do teach Sunday school, our minister of education sends us updates about membership. You know where most of our members come from? Other churches. It’s not often that we have people not involved in another church join church.
I think people are looking for a place where they can be accepted, flaws and all, but they don’t think they’ll get it from the church. In particular, I believe that women are looking for love from the church. Women in the church and women outside the church need encouragement. It’s not easy juggling everything! It’s not easy trying to hold everything together, but our society has made us believe that it should be easy. We should do everything perfectly. There’s a funny Internet meme going around that the perfect woman should have five things: a great body, a full-time job, a clean house, dinner cooked on time every night, and a great sex life – and then it says pick two of five.
If we expect ourselves to be perfect and beat ourselves up when we don’t succeed, it’s no surprise that we expect the same from others. But we shouldn’t do either.
We need to love each other, support each other. Then, just as we do it for each other, we need to build up the church as well. Our church is supposed to be a haven, a comfort – not a place of derision. Prayer request time should not become a gossip fest. Worship needs to be whatever you need it to be, whether it’s quiet time with God or a moment for rejoicing.
And we need to quit thinking that everyone who isn’t Jesus should be perfect.