We ARE The Church

How do you answer someone who is having issues with the church?  First of all, listen.  Sometimes, people just need to be heard. Then we prayerfully come forward to help the person with their issue, without fueling the fire.

Actually, it would be quite unusual if there were no issues within the church.  We all are unique and we all have the right to speak and to express our feelings.  My point here, do it all in love.

But let us never forget, the Church is more than just a building and definitely more than the pastor and staff.  Plain and simple, WE ARE THE CHURCH!  There is no perfect church.  We strive toward perfection, totally depending on Jesus to get us there.

I have delayed posting these thoughts. As I am not speaking of just one incident, but from situations I have found myself in over the years. Which set my mind reeling, more times than I can count.

Having pastored a church, I quickly came to realize, if you attend church you will certainly find something wrong.  I lived it. I breathed it. I endured it all by the Grace of God.

I can assure you the staff at Grace are constantly brainstorming and praying for the ways and means to help bring the church to a find love, peace and joy.  And most importantly, finding Jesus!  Knowing Jesus!

Last evening while perusing Facebook, I read this post from a friend.  The author is unknown, but the message is timely.

Church is hard.
Church is hard for the person walking through the doors, afraid of judgment.
Church is hard for the pastor’s family, under the microscope of an entire body.
Church is hard for the prodigal soul returning home, broken and battered by the world.
Church is hard for the girl who looks like she has it all together, but doesn’t.
Church is hard for the couple who fought the entire ride to service.
Church is hard for the person singing worship songs, overwhelmed by the weight of the lyrics.
Church is hard for the church leader with an estranged child.
Church is hard for the many insecure in his role as a leader.
Church is hard for the wife who longs to be led by a righteous man.
Church is hard for the nursery volunteer who desperately longs for a baby to love.
Church is hard for the single woman and single man, praying God brings them a mate.
Church is hard for the teenage girl, wearing a scarlet letter, ashamed of her mistakes.
Church is hard for sinners.
It is hard because on the outside it all looks shiny and perfect.  Sunday best in behavior and dress.
However, underneath those layers, you find a body of imperfect people, carnal souls with selfish motives.

But here is the beauty of church—
Church isn’t a building, mentally or of our expectation.
Church is a body.
Church is group of sinners, saved by grace, living in fellowship as saints.
Church is a body of believers bound as brothers and sisters by an eternal love.
Church is a holy ground where sinners stand as equals before the Throne of Grace.
Church is a refuge for broken hearts and a training ground for mighty warriors.
Church is a converging of confrontation and invitation.  Where sin is confronted and hearts are invited to seek restoration.
Church is a lesson in faith and trust.
Church is a bearer of burdens and a giver of hope.
Church is a family.  A family coming together, setting aside differences, forgetting past mistakes, rejoicing in the smallest of victories.
Church, the body, and the circle of sinners—turned-saints, is where He resides, and if we ask, He is faithful to come.

So even on the hard days at church—

The days when I am at odds with a friend; when I have fought with my spouse because we are late once again. When I have walked in bearing burdens heavier than my heart can handle, yet masking the pain with a smile on my face.  When I’ve worn the scarlet letter, under a microscope.  When I’ve longed for a baby to hold, or fought tears as the lyrics were sung.  When I have walked back in, afraid and broken, after walking away.
I’ll remember, He has never failed to meet me there.

Wednesday Whispers:  Church is a body. A family. A place to love God and love others through our struggles.