What I want in my church

I suspect that there have been many blog posts similar to this, so figured that I would take my crack at it. The idea is interesting really. We move to new towns or neighborhoods and search for a church. We become dissatisfied and look for a new church. We tire of politics or positions of a denomination and look for a new church. We don’t like a difficult to hear sermon, and look for a new church. We hear about sin and look for a new church.

When looking at a church we examine the children’s program and if it will fit. We look to adult classes and if we agree with them. We gauge how friendly people are and decide if we want to stay. We look at the types of cars in the parking lot and see if our’s measures up. We hear a couple sermons and decide if they challenge us just a little, but not enough to truly encourage change. We listen to the music and decide if it is traditional or too traditional, just contemporary enough or not quite edgy enough. We look at the groups available and we decide what the church can offer us. We decide what church we want and then we go about trying to find it. It’s funny really, because we go looking for the church that we want and very rarely is God on the list that we judge the church by.

So, what do I want in my church? Here goes. I want a church where the word of God effects people as it did Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:9)…not just the leaders or the pastors, but everyone. I want a church where I am part of the solution and not part of the problem. I want a church where Christ is savior, but also sovereign. I want a church where there is swearing in the halls (because that means that we are not pretending to be perfect) followed by the slightly embarrassed look after (because that means the Spirit is conforming us even in the small ways). I want a church with pipe organs and electric guitars because there are so many ways to praise God, why limit yourself to just one. I want a church where communion is welcome to all and is not some tradition that we uphold, but is a ritual that transforms us. None of us should leave Christ’s table the same as when we came. I want a church where the presence of God is both a soft still whisper and also speaks from the storm. I want a church where the entire image of Christ is taught. Not the fluffy love everyone with no expectations Jesus, and not the man’s man hyper testosterone Jesus, but the entire image of Jesus…the savior who loves us, and the savior that expects our obedience. The sovereign that welcomes anyone, but who demands that we choose Him above everything else.

There is no perfect church, we all know that. There probably isn’t even the church I want. There will always be a problem somewhere. The thing is that the church I want requires some work on my part. It requires me to be actively engaged in what is going on. To serve, perhaps to lead if necessary. It requires some flexibility and willingness to accept that there are many people who all want their church too. Truth is that it will probably never end up as the church that I want, but God is in it, so it will end up the church that you need. That’s how God works most of the time anyway. We will have our needs met…even while complaining that it isn’t what we wanted.




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2 Replies to “What I want in my church”

  1. Essentially, there are only two basic types of churches. These churches are so different that, even within the same denomination, congregations from one church type tend to feel quite uncomfortable when visiting the other. .

    The first type is reserved for the more affluent members of society. In these churches, hell and brimstone are vanquished. These are true country club – rather than county club-like churches. Messages from the pulpit tend to be positive – filled with references to God’s blessing and his goodness. Congregants are repeatedly reminded to how God has blessed them in this life and will continue to do so in the next. Assurances of God’s protection are redundant.

    The second type constitutes the churches most folks know. Any relative affluence in these churches is defiantly second tier. While there may be a few millionaires scattered around, rarely are there multibillionairs. These congregations are usually defined by how much hell and brimstone the congregation will tolerate. Duty is emphasized. Obligations are highlighted. Here, God is more overseer than he is benefactor. Rewards only come in the end.

  2. The two verses preceding your Jeremiah reference seems to put it into perspective.

    “7 O Jehovah, thou hast persuaded me, and I was persuaded; thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am become a laughing-stock all the day, every one mocketh me. 8 For as often as I speak, I cry out; I cry, Violence and destruction! because the word of Jehovah is made a reproach unto me, and a derision, all the day.”
    I don’t think things are quite that bad!

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