It’s confession time…
I have problems. I have issues. I have struggles. I have shortcomings.
Here’s a bigger confession…
My church has problems. She has issues. She has struggles. Her people and leaders and ministries have shortcomings.
As I sit here, I can name dozens of people that I know that have ‘moved on’ from one church to another because of one reason or another. We aren’t getting fed…The leadership doesn’t care about me…(other church) does things this way…______ministry is too shallow…______ ministry is too irrelevant…People don’t love me there…
We all could add more….we have heard these and more so many times.
At the core of these and others, we believe that…
Church can’t have problems. Church can’t have struggles. Church can’t have shortcomings. Church needs to be perfect.
I read the Bible. When I do, I don’t get done, close my Bible and think ‘Man, they all were perfect!’ When I read the Old Testament, I read story after story telling about person after person who, sometimes more than we would care to admit, they screwed up…a lot! (I could give examples but you know already know them)
I read the New Testament and hear Jesus time after time lining out his closest followers. I hear Paul writing to churches that have struggled with the basics of Christianity over and over.
We have been trained to seek after the next best thing. When things get tough, when we struggle, when problems arise, when things don’t go our way, we cut it loose and move on. When organizations, friends, family, marriages, cellphones and jobs no longer completely meet our needs and there’s another ‘better’ option, society validates our ditching the old and bringing in the new. Everything around us promotes a me-centered approach to our lives. What do i get out of it, that meets my needs, with as little of my involvement and input. We have been conditioned to not ever work thru struggle.
I have struggle in my life and family. Divorce…not an option. Ditching my kids…not even considered. Why? Because of my commitment to them before God, because of my relationship to each one of them, because I’ve committed my life to them.
Paul talked about these evidences that can be seen when the Spirit of God is working and growing in you. He called them the fruit of the Spirit. One of them is faithfulness.
A friend of mine spoke wisdom about this to me a few weeks ago. Following Gods leading in our lives to stay, remaining faithful even through the struggle, tension, frustration, shortcomings…problems…is a sign of God working through and in you.
Does it mean you have to stay forever? No. Gods leading takes people to different places for different reasons, but it’s HIS LEADING, NOT OUR PERSONAL WANT.
Too often, when churches and people don’t meet our expectations, we just move on. Justifying it in our minds that it’s a good move for us when in reality, we move on because we don’t want to try to be a part of change.
My heart breaks every time I hear this. I believe we cut short Gods blessing for us because we don’t stick it out long enough to see the result of our faithfulness and work.
It’s not too much to ask for you to commit to your family, your spouse and your kids (even with their problems, struggles, and issues). People have committed to you, and we even expect it, even with our personal problems, struggles, and issues.
So, not as a pastor, but as a fellow Christ follower, for you and your families spiritual growth…
Commit to a local church. Maybe it’s the one you’re a part of (using that phrase loosely as many of us struggle with being a ‘part’ of any church). Maybe you need to find one. Commit, long term, to a (1) church.
Commit to being a part of her solutions, not adding more problems. Be active in helping resolve issues you see, not expecting everyone else (leadership only) to solve all the problems.
Commit to her ministries that are there for you. They were made for you. They have people in them that will benefit from you investing in it. If it’s too deep, shallow, flashy, unloving, unattended, whatever…help fix it.
Commit to her ministries that aren’t for you. They are made for someone else, but they need you. Our selfless serving others in ministry grows us, molds us, and shapes us. We miss out when we don’t serve others I ministry.
Commit to her people. If someone sins against you, do the right thing and deal with it. If you sin against someone, do the right thing and deal with it. Show love. Show patience. Show acceptance. Don’t just run from it.
Commit to her leadership. They are people. They are struggling just like everyone else. They also need to know people in their church body support them, even in their shortcomings.
Commit to her future. The church needs people who are passionately committed to furthering her work in your community.
Commit to her community. We need…need, community with other Christian people. We need support. We need to lock arms together and fight the sin and struggle and hardships, and persevere through, because of our relationships with each other.
I have problems. So do you.
My church has problems. So does every single other church.
When dealing with people and churches…perfection, by most standards, doesn’t…cannot exist.
What makes us and our church perfect is when imperfect people commit to making them better.