Posted by: pastortomvabeach | August 4, 2014

Thought for the Week August 10, 2014

I ran across a blog written by a 21 year old college student who is the daughter of a pastor who is planting a new church. Her perspective is very interesting and the thing that caught my eye was the title of her blog post – Why Your Church Probably Sucks and You Should Be There Every Sunday. Isn’t that intriguing? After reading it, I thought this would be good to share with my readers. So here is Maci Shingleton’s blog in it’s entirety:

“When my family began the process of planting a church over 3 years ago, I asked my parents if we could have an application process for our members. That way we could weed out the fake/lazy Christians right off the bat. They laughed. I was kind of serious. I have seen Christ so at work in His people throughout my life that I didn’t want the church we started to turn into a typical Bible-Belt congregation. I love the church too much to comfortably be a part of that. I have seen and believe that the power of Christ is strong enough to overcome that.

“About a year ago I secretly grew really frustrated with my home church. I stepped away from the girl’s small group I was leading and really wondered if maybe God was going to call me to another church. Church planting is hard. I felt like my family was doing a lot of work and though God was working it wasn’t in the way I wanted Him to. He wanted us to plant. I wanted to harvest.

“When you’ve been to so many amazing conferences, other churches, camps, and mission trips it is easy to fall in love with the people of Christ globally and be burdened by them locally. I found myself loving the Church universal and not exactly loving my church local. How can some believers be overwhelmed by the goodness of the gospel and others be so dead to it? I wasn’t sure if I should leave or if I should stay and commit.

“As I was struggling and praying through this, God used my theology professor to shape my heart greatly. In class one day, He was talking about 1 Peter and how the Church is a ‘royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession.’ I asked him what our response should be when often the people meeting in our congregation on Sunday morning simply don’t seem to be what that passage describes. He wasn’t sure what to say at first. He told me that it’s easy to love the Church universal and difficult to love the local church. He said, ‘Loving the local church is so messy… but it is so necessary to struggle through the mess.’

“I have so often prayed for God to make me like Christ and so wrongly believed I could be like Christ on my own. I can’t. I’m so broken. I need an entire body of believers. Not the perfect kind, but the real kind. The kind of people that need Jesus so badly they force you to see how badly you need Jesus. I absolutely love my church and I am so glad Jesus has molded my heart for this beautiful body of people. Christ has loved me through individuals at my church in ways I cannot explain and through that love He empowers me to love the lost and broken. The church is so good.

“I understand that there are congregations and situations that are simply not of God anymore. That breaks me in more ways than I can express. But if you find yourself frustrated with the people in your church, remind yourself of the gospel. Be reminded of how Christ has met you so graciously in the midst of your wrong and be willing to meet others with the same love. Pray for Christ to love His people through you and trust that He will. You cannot become like Jesus on your own. Get up early, go to the weird luncheons, volunteer for silly events, make someone a meal, and be at that Bible study that probably won’t even be that great. Be willing to struggle through the mess. The reward will be worth it.”

Well, I think Maci and her professor hit the nail on the head. We can always look around at the wonderful things God is doing in the “church universal” and then wonder what’s wrong with our “local church”. What we don’t see is all of the hard work, frustration, and struggle that takes place in every local church that is truly engaged in kingdom work. That kingdom work is building people who will be fully devoted to following Jesus Christ. It doesn’t always look appealing or exciting and, sometimes, it is downright messy. But that’s how we grow and that’s how the great works of the kingdom eventually get done.

The important part of this is that it takes all of us. You and I need to be here every Sunday, rain or shine, winter or summer, whether we feel like it or not. We need to get connected and serve in outreach events, ministry opportunities, and routine activities. We need to have close friendships that can happen through ministry teams or Life groups. We need to be faithful at this because Jesus is building His church which is made up of human building blocks (living stones are begin built up a spiritual house…I Peter 2:5). Those building blocks are you and me. How’s He going to build it properly if the materials are nowhere to be found?

What do you think of Maci’s perspective? I think there’s hope when we have young Christian thinkers like her telling it like it is. How about you?

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