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Churches Without Broken People Are Broken Churches

The Danger of Growing Up Christian

The Christian life is not about finding safety and comfort.

Many Christians are “generational believers,” as they have grown up in a Christian home. That is their reality, but there is a bigger reality. Sometimes we can easily forget there’s a hurting world out there. We drive through it on the way to church, or on the way to work. But at the end of the day, we don’t come to terms with the vast brokenness that surrounds us.

Serving and Saving: The Way of Christ and His Church

Sometimes the hurting make their way into the pews and, by grace and through faith, respond to the good news of salvation. But all too often, the only connections Christians have with broken people are made outside of church. That’s why I love to hear a pastor say, “You know, we’re going to be a church that cares about the hurting and serves those in need, showing the love of Christ to the lost.”

The true test of our maturity is not measured in how much we leave behind, but how much we love.

I’m struck by the fact that Jesus talks about His ministry in two ways. In Luke 4:18, He says, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me because He has anointed Me.” He goes on to talk about preaching the good news to the poor and the captive.

Jesus came to serve.

In fact, this type of ministry was a sign that He was the Messiah. Prophecy was being fulfilled as He showed kindness to those who were hurting. Throughout Scripture, we see the work of Christ among the widows, the blind, the broken—whoever had a need. Jesus served with compassion.

Jesus came to save.

In Luke 19:10, He says He came to seek and save the lost. And the same Jesus who came to serve and to save then says to us in John 20:21, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

We have been sent by Jesus to join Him in His mission. He came to serve and to save, then so must we. We are to serve others in His name, and we are to share the good news of salvation so that people might trust in Jesus’ work on the cross—His death in our place, for our sin.

Serving and saving were marks of Christ’s life on earth. They should be marks of His people as well.

But to do that, we must engage the broken and hurting people around us. I don’t want to be part of a broken church — instead, I want to be a part of a church where broken people are welcome—a church where perfect people aren’t allowed, a place where people can embark on this journey without having everything figured out from the start.

That’s hard. But it’s what we were called to be. A church without the broken is a broken church.

How does your church engage the hurting? What have you done in your own life to avoid insulating yourself from the brokenness around you?

Are we so concerned about how people view us that we’ll never be accused of spending too much time with sinners?

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Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., is a professor and dean at Wheaton College where he also serves as Executive Director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, has earned two master’s degrees and two doctorates, and has written hundreds of articles and a dozen books. He is Regional Director for Lausanne North America, is the editor-in-chief of Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited in, interviewed by, and writes for news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He is the Founding Editor of The Gospel Project, a curriculum used by more than 1.7 million individuals each week for bible story. His national radio show, Ed Stetzer Live, airs Saturdays on Moody Radio and affiliates. He serves as interim teaching pastor of Calvary Church in New York City and serves as teaching pastor at Highpoint Church.