Why Church? – Good Question…

Recently, I preached a series of sermons called ‘Love My Church’. I was seeking to develop a very positive mindset toward the church, and why we should engage more deeply with it. That got me asking another set of questions, and those questions have grown into a series of posts…

For those who don’t know God…

I wonder where the church fits in the experience and awareness of the general community. Maybe the question is not one of ‘where’ but ‘whether’… I guess we have all heard the cliched responses that in the mind of the general community the church is irrelevant, or invisible, or worse. Church leaders have asked often their congregations “if our church was to disappear overnight, would we be missed?”. The question my be cliched, but the answer often troubles us, and that may be for good reason.

For those who know God…

You might expect that for those who know God and follow His Son, Jesus, there would be a more ringing endorsement. Here, the feedback varies. Some Christian love their church, and dedicate much time and energy to making their local church a really terrific place.

But how many of us would say that they love their church, and that meeting with other Christians ‘at church’ is the highlight of their week? And if their answer is not resoundingly positive, what are the factors there?

what we think about the church has enormous impact on how healthy it is

Maybe how we talk about church exposes something of the issue:

People ‘go to church’

People ‘get fed with the word at church’

People ‘have fellowship at church’

People ‘are blessed by the ministries, programs and services their church provides’

Pastors ‘work at church, serve their church, and prepare for the services to be held at the church’

My thought is that what we think about the church has enormous impact on how healthy it is, and how well it does what God calls it to do in the community and the world.

The next posts will explore these thoughts a little more.

Love to hear your thoughts…

2 thoughts on “Why Church? – Good Question…

  1. Bill Hybels is known to say: “The Church is the hope of the world.” I disagree with the statement NOT because the Church is so crucial in bringing hope to the people of the world, but because it is Christ alone who brings hope (and yes, He often does it in conjunction with the Church and her members). This is not just a semantic game! If this is the starting point for Christians, then I believe your perspective of the church changes because it places the church in the proper place where sin, evil, humanity, politics, relational dynamics, etc. are the “flavors” that make the difference between different congregations. As a believer then, my perspective on the church is not only more realistic, but also more positive because it allows for our fallen state lifted up by Christ’s grace. I also think that unless this is the case, we as believers are doing an injustice to the uncommitted by shifting focus on what truly is important (Christ) and placing it instead is not as satisfying. That is why one of the things I teach often is that Christians and the church are not in the business of inviting people to church, but inviting people to Christ (often with the help of a church community)

  2. Thanks Don,

    I agree with your point about Hybels’ and the church. I have often read that statement from ‘Courageous Leadership’ and found myself pushing back on it a little. I just want him to say ‘the church carries the hope of the world’ or ‘Christ is the hope of the world, and the church gets to carry his good news and his good deeds into the brokenness around them’ but that’s not that he says. I’d like to think, though, that is what he means. I cannot imagine Hybels thinking anything different to that.

    I agree with your basic thought that it’s Christ who is the core reality in the church, and a few future posts will look at how He changes everything we do in the church. Part of our problem is that we start and finish with us, and this tends to undermine God’s work in his people.

    Thanks again, great to hear form you!

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