Roughly three years ago I left a career in engineering to serve the church full-time. Since that day, I have wrestled with unrealized expectations. I battled through an over-romanticized view of the church. I walked through seasons of pain and suffering, mostly at the expense of the church. I suffered through a season of depression because of unrealistic ministry goals. There were times I wanted to leave. But, by God’s grace, I am still here.
I mention this because despite all these experiences, I am more in love with the church today than at any point in my life. I am convinced of the transformative power of the church. I am also convicted more than ever the church is the vehicle for growing into God’s image and the primary source of revealing God’s glory to the world.
For all the negativity and bashing the church receives (mostly at the hands of its own people), the church is still the bride of Jesus. And if Jesus grabbed coffee with me, I believe he would spend more time telling me why he loves the church than what he believes is wrong with her.
So, I want to explain why I love the church. There are hundreds of points I could make, but you wouldn’t hang around to read them all. So, I will give you eight. Let’s do it.
1.) The church is messy.
The church isn’t a place for the clean and tidy. It isn’t a place for those who “have it together.” The church is a refuge for people struggling with addictions to pornography, drugs and alcohol. It is a place for those struggling with bitterness, greed, anger and acceptance. The church is a place for those struggling with moral righteousness. Regardless of the issue, the church is messy because the church is people. And all people are broken.
This is why I love the church. The church doesn’t ask for perfection. The church doesn’t claim we must get it together before we are accepted. The church, instead, acknowledges there is only one who is perfect … Jesus. He is the head of the church, and the church clings to him.
2.) The church is God’s instrument to repel darkness in the world.
The church is the light of the world. Followers of Jesus have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of them, and the church has the Spirit hovering over her, both locally and globally. The church is not some weird club with secret handshakes. The church has an eternal mission. Those who become Christians are called out of the world, and they join a cause greater than themselves.
When the church is present, darkness must disappear. No other institution or collection of people can make this claim. The church is God’s chosen instrument in the world to repel darkness. I love this about the church. Broken people have a hand in eternal destinies. That’s swagtastic.
3.) The church is people, and I can’t give up on people.
Many in my generation are pessimistic toward organizations and institutions. So, when the church is called an organization or institution, walls immediately come up. Fortunately, the church is not primarily an institution. The church is primarily … people.
The church isn’t a conglomerate of doctrines. It is a collection of people filled with the Spirit.
The church is not an abstract conglomerate of ideals and doctrines. The church is a collection of men and women created in the image of God. And these people are filled with the Spirit of God.