It’s way too easy to find blogs, articles and books on “what’s wrong with the church,” about the ways she has fallen short of what God has called her to do and be, how she has strayed to chase idols and what changes she needs to make to attract the next generation.
As the church, we should always strive to be better with our witness and be more effective at reaching our neighbors with the gospel of Jesus Christ. So it’s necessary to point out the faults, inconsistencies and hypocrisies.
However, what about what’s right with the church? Today, you have to be Sherlock Holmes to find much writing on what’s good and right with the church. Thankfully, the Word of God is effective at pointing out what is beautiful about the church.
The church is your forever family. If you have been bought by the blood of Jesus and the Holy Spirit of God lives inside of you, you are the Church. We can all be guilty of mentally removing ourselves from both the universal and local church and throw criticisms toward her, but we can’t forget: We are the Church.
You will always be a part of the church, even when you try to run from the local expression of it. It’s still you. It’s your forever family. When God saved you, He saved you into a family. The church is God’s answer to your loneliness. As the church, you can laugh together and cry together. You can rejoice together and mourn together. The most beautiful word in it all is “together.” Just like with your physical family, you’ll be annoyed, frustrated and angered by your spiritual family. However, don’t run and abandon them. Press in. Enjoy them. Love them. Serve them. After all, you have to spend forever with them.
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God (Ephesians 2:19).”
Besides the Holy Spirit, there is no greater force in the world. When the Church is unified and mobilized, hell cannot prevail against it. When it comes to responding to disasters, sex-slavery, injustice, orphan care and any other felt need, the church is the greatest responder of them all. Do we always get it right? No. Are we sometimes late to the party? Yes. However, when the church (fueled by the Holy Spirit) rallies around a cause, nothing can stop her. And the world takes notice. In 2017, when the largest flood in U.S. history hit Texas, the unified church responded quickly and stayed long after the news cameras had left. In fact, they’re still working today, recovering and rebuilding. In fact, faith groups coordinating with FEMA provide the bulk of disaster relief in the U.S.
The church maximizes the effectiveness of your life. Every follower of Jesus has been called to do three things through the Great Commandment and the Great Commission: love God, love people and make disciples. The majority of our calling to be a follower of Jesus has more to do with others than us. We are called to love God (someone else), we are called to love people (someone else) and we are called to make disciples (someone else).
To do this, we are given spiritual gifts through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. These spiritual gifts are used to strengthen others in the body of Christ. “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you – that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine (Romans 1:11 – 12).” Ironically, the more you serve, love and pour your life into others, the more joy, hope and peace you tend to have. The church isn’t an organization created to fulfill your preferences, the church is a people created to know the Lord and serve others. It truly maximizes the effectiveness and legacy of your life.
The church has an awesome husband. We can’t forget the church is the bride of Christ, and what we have to say about her is taken very seriously by her groom, Jesus. Imagine if folks constantly and continuously had a lot say about what’s wrong with your spouse, how she has lost touch with reality and dwells in the wrong motives, styles and messages and, if she ever wants to see her young people again, better make massive changes. Basically, she needs to listen attentively and cater to ones who have left her or are at least threatening to. If these were the comments made toward and about your spouse, it would probably be disheartening or even enraging.
Truthfully, there are many things wrong with us. There are changes we need to make and we often miss the mark. However, there are many things right with the church and the best thing about it is its husband, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jesus doesn’t need us, but by His grace and love, He chooses to use us to do amazing things for His glory.
Find out more about my new book, 9 Common Lies Christians Believe: And Why God’s Truth is Infinitely Better at shanepruitt.com/9commonlies