5. Be unhappy with the fact that it isn’t perfect.
“There is no perfect church, and if you find one, don’t join it because you’ll ruin it.”
I don’t know who first said that, but it’s true. All churches are strong in some areas and weak in others. Hopefully churches are always working on those weaknesses, but if we can’t settle for anything less than perfection, then we’re in real trouble.
In his book Under the Unpredictable Tree, Eugene Peterson helps pastors be content in the church they are in.
Maybe there needs to be a version for church members. In the book, Peterson coined the term “Ecclesiastical Pornography.” That is the perfect term to describe the problem that so many people have. We look at the church down the street, or the church in town that’s “doing really well,” or the celebrity pastor’s church, and think—“they have it all together” or “they’re doing church right.”
Many people start attending those churches, and after the honeymoon period wears off, they find that church has weaknesses of its own.
Sadly, many people go through life thinking the perfect church is just around the corner. Or, as many young evangelicals do, they decide that they don’t need church at all and embark on solo-Christianity.
Church is like marriage in a lot of ways. In the beginning, it’s fun and exciting, but eventually the honeymoon comes to an end and it’s work, real work, but we find that the work is rewarding and worthwhile, and it’s work that God meant for us to be doing.