Monday, November 30, 2015

Who Do You Follow?

I overheard a conversation at a party recently, by a self-professed "Church-hopper". I didn't hear the whole conversation, but the gist of it was, that she had been looking for a church for awhile, but it was just too difficult to find a good one. I've been there before, especially if you're in a new town, or in an area where there just aren't a lot of Bible-based churches. However, I think we have to be careful not to look too long for a "good" church.

Why not? Should we settle for less than perfect in our walk with Christ? No, in our personal walk with Christ we ought always to be seeking to grow and mature in our faith. However, in our walk with our fellow believers, we have to keep one very important thing in mind, they are all human and failures just as we are.

You can search for the perfect orator in a pastor, only to find out he is careless with his flock. You can search for the perfect children's ministry, only to find out that the adult ministry is simply a social club, and you can find no deep friendships. You can search for the perfect Bible study schedule, only to find out that the word is not preached on Sundays.

So what's the point? Why not just give up the search, or keep it up indefinitely?

At some point, despite all of their personal failings and sins, we need to be making a commitment to a church body. Whether it's a home church or a mega-church, it makes no difference to God, but rather your commitment to be a part of His family does. If a church openly preaches something other than the gospel, you have a hard decision to make - either step up and call out the sin you see in the church, or start over somewhere new. Other than that, we should all be a little more open to sin and imperfection in the church. We need to analyze our feelings about each church, not on the other members of the body there, but on ourselves.

Did you feel the Spirit moving there? Did you see that there was a place for you to serve? Rather than analyzing each member of the body (including the pastor) on his or her "performance" we need to make a commitment, even if it's only a trial basis (7-8 weeks minimum) and dive in. Jump into small groups, talk to the pastor and/or elders, add yourself to the e-mail lists, and join the coffee and fellowship or covered dish meals. It's all well and good to say you didn't feel like you belonged at a certain church, but if the reason for not belonging is you standing behind a self-imposed wall, maybe you ought to give it another try.

I can honestly say that our church search was much shorter this time around, because we knew exactly what we were looking for. We felt the Spirit move, we saw the humanity of our fellow believers (and pastor) and we jumped in. There's no time like the present to become a part of a true community. A community where we recognize our sins and failures, and love each other anyway. So let's not claim to follow Paul or Apollos, or Pastor Dave, let's claim to follow Jesus Christ and accept the failures of our fellow believers along the way with grace, humility, and a love deep enough to gently correct without judgment.
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