I still believe in the church. Not the way I believe in Jesus, in that I don’t worship and follow the church as I do Jesus but I do believe in the church. More importantly perhaps, I believe you should still believe in the church too if you are a Christian.
But The Church Is A Bunch Of…
Don’t mistake me as some naïve “the church can do no wrong” sort of person. I’m a Minister and as such, I often see the problems and failures of the church in ways that many Christians don’t. I’ve got the stories and a few battle scars to testify to it as well. More importantly, I’ve also sat and listened to people who have been abused in some fashion by a church, or certain people within the church.
Then there’s the books, articles, and blogs that speak of the problems facing the contemporary church. I’ve even posted a few of those critical blogs myself. For the most part, I think they are necessary. We need to be critical at times, reflect on problems and the sort of changes that might correct those problems.
So I get it. Sometimes the church bites and someone needs to speak a prophetic word of God that calls the church out. But in all of the the problems and failures, I still believe in the church.
The Church Is Still…
To borrow an old cliché, I’m not willing to throw the baby out with the bath water when it comes to church because she still is, in all her faults and sins, the bride of Christ. The church is the people through whom the wisdom of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ, is now being made known (cf. Eph 3:10). The church is the chosen nation of God’s people who serve the priestly function of declaring the praises of God who calls people from darkness into light (cf. 1 Pet 2:9). Ergo, the church is the community that bears witness in the world to what God is doing in accomplishing in Jesus Christ. That is a mighty good work too!
Those are a couple of theological reasons from the Bible but let me offer a more personal reason that hopefully is based on good theology too. You see, I still believe in the church because it is in gathering with my church for worship at our Sunday gathering and gathering with my church for fellowship, prayers, Bible-study, ministry activities, and so on, that I am reminded of the truth—the story that God has made me a part of. There are a myriad of false stories that exist in the world. . . political stories, social stories, economic stories, philosophical stories. Some of these stories can sound pretty convincing at times and I need to be with people who will help me remember the truth through preaching, singing, serving, praying, etc…
Plain and simple, I need to remember and so do you! That’s why I still believe in the church, meaning that I still see much need for living as an active participant with my church. But wait, I’m a Minister. So I have to be active, right? I guess you could say that. However, I could walk away from being a Minister anytime I want to and I still would be a part of a local church because I was before I became a Minister.
One More Thing…
There’s one more thing I would like to share as to why I still believe in the church. At the worst point in my life to date, when my son Kenny died, it was the church that was there for my wife and I as the palpable presence of God with us. First it was the shepherds, their wives, and other families from our church in Searcy, Arkansas, who surrounded us in the waiting room at the trauma center praying for us and crying with us. Then it was the Christians from our Wednesday Evening Small Group who came to sit with us, listen to us, and cry with us. And over the next couple of years, which were the most difficult years of my life spiritually speaking, it was my Christian friends (the church) whom God use to put the pieces of a shattered faith back together piece by piece.
So you see, I know the church can be outright ugly at times in the way that she acts. But I also know that the church, fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit, is capable of beautiful and amazing ministry done in the name of Jesus. I know because I have seen it both “professionally” as a Minister and personally in my own darkest hour.
That’s why I still believe in the church!