I am tired of fellow Christians talking about what is wrong with pastors and local churches. The following is a composite story of what happens in the lives of tens of thousands of people every week which does not get talked about enough. And it happens because good churches do things every week which don’t get talked about enough.
What Happens When Good Churches Do What They Do Best
A young man is born into a dysfunctional family. It is a home filled with abuse, drinking, substance abuse, and pornography. Heading into his teenage years, his dad leaves the family because he thinks life is just too hard. The young boy then bounces from house-to-house growing up never finding love or a sense of security. His new step-mother hates him and eventually kicks him out.
With little options and no perspective, the young man moves in with another dysfunctional family. But at least he had a home and food to eat.
Heading into his 20s, his career never really gains traction. He marries but soon discovers he now presides over his own dysfunctional family. A cycle of generational sin ensues. He is also stuck in a cycle of poverty. As the kids get older, his marriage falls apart. The kids move on. Now in his 40s, he finds himself all alone. No family. No career. No money. No options. No hope.
As he enters his late-40s, the following is his life:
- In another marriage.
- Trying manage dysfunctional relationships with adult children.
- No relationship with his grandchildren.
- Still in a challenging career.
- Financial troubles.
- Emotional struggles.
- Developing health issues.
- Ridden by guilt and/or bitterness because of missed opportunities and how life has turned out.
- Once again, no hope and no options.
This is his existence. Notice I said “existence” and not “life”. But God….
One Sunday, he decides to give a local church a chance. He remembered the church when he was a youth. It now runs about 80 people. As he entered the church, he notices lightening doesn’t strike. The building does not cave in. Things are fine. He enjoys the preaching and music but it was the love he felt enjoys the most. People are nice to him.
The small environment is conducive to building relationships. He makes friends. The senior adults begin treating him like a son. The pastor is kind and welcoming.
Over the next year, he begins to participate in some local service projects. He eventually takes the manual labor up a notch and goes on a mission trip to repair an orphanage. He begins to love his church because he has never experienced love like this before. They love him unconditionally. His past does not define him here. He never misses a Sunday.
Then something amazing happens. After attending for about nine months, the young man gives his life to Christ. He gets saved. A dead man has come to life. His past is forgiven. He gets baptized and his new church family celebrates like crazy. The man finally has what he always wanted… a loving father and a loving family.
As he heads into his 50’s this is his new life:
- His life has purpose and meaning.
- His marriage is stable.
- Relationships are becoming restored.
- He has joy. He smiles.
- Laughter fills his home.
- He receives hugs when he arrives at church.
- He is growing spiritually.
- He is in a loving small group.
- He serves others.
- He is loved and has also developed the capacity to love others.
- He has a hope and a future.
- His eternity is secure.
- He loves Jesus and he knows Jesus loves him.
This happens at tens of thousands of good churches every weekend. Enough with all that is negative about local churches. This is the story that needs to be told more often.
This article about good churches originally appeared here.