My heart is breaking because I am hearing regular reports of how much you Christians dislike church. Did you know that Jesus died for His church. Jesus’ love for the church is made abundantly clear in Ephesians 5:25-32. You cannot love Jesus and not love His church – to love Jesus is to love His church. Jesus is the head of the church and we are the body of the church. To not love the body is like saying to me that you only love my face and not the rest of me. It’s totally ridiculous, my face is me and my body is me, it is all me.
A common debate that I hear is that the church is not the gathering of believers but it is simply individuals that love Jesus. People say that they can serve God at home on their own and don’t need to meet with other believers. Once again I cannot stress how ridiculous this theory is. Is my physical body merely the individual pieces of my body or is it the individual pieces of my body living together and depending upon each other to keep me alive? I can assure you that if you dismembered me I would no longer be me, I would be dead. It is my observation that sadly the church is also dead due to dismemberment.
Thankfully, Jesus can raise the dead and I believe that it is His desire to bring together His beautiful bride, the church. I cannot and will not go into a deep theological debate about these things, you simply must ask God for your own revelation of the truth and stop making excuses not to go to church. The word “church” comes from the Greek “ekklesia” which means “gathering” or “assembly.” Therefore, the church is the gathering of the believers who come together to participate in fellowship with one another as they worship God and hear from His Word, the Bible.
My husband, Eric, and I lead a small church in Gloucestershire, UK. We are struggling, it is hard ground to break, hearts are hard, money is short. Almost each week I meet new and wonderful people only to learn that they are Christians who don’t go to church any more. They were hurt by the pastor or disagreed with something that was going on in the church. I have been hurt by pastors and leaders too. I have hurt people in my congregation and will still do so in the years ahead. I don’t do it intentionally and really wish I could avoid ever hurting another precious person. But, I am just a girl on a journey trying her best to do what God has called her to do. I make mistakes. I have to deal with my sinful nature. I still have much to learn. I am selfish at heart just like you. For all pastors out there, church please cut them some slack, it is one of the most difficult jobs imaginable. I wish I could undo all the mistakes I made as a church leader, I wish I could win back everyone I have lost but I can’t. What we can do is move on, learn from our mistakes and try to love again even though we know it will hurt.
I once overheard a woman say that she sees committing to a church like a marriage. I chuckled inside as I disagreed with her ‘silly’ idea. I have repented several times over since then as I think her views are pure and beautiful and if more people took their relationship with their church seriously then the church wouldn’t be as sick and dead as it is today. I say sick and dead because some parts are just sick while other parts have already died. I wholeheartedly agree with this woman’s sweet sentiment. If more people would commit to their church ‘for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part’ then I think we could finally start building this thing called the kingdom. If more people would take the time to speak to their leaders and work our problems then we might get somewhere. If people understood the concept of submission to husbands, leaders and government then we could finally get on with reaching out to the lost.
My heart breaks for you church and if I, a sinful human, feels this way then I cannot imagine the pain in Jesus heart. Please can we stop our childish bickering and begin to work together for a greater good. Let all of us come together and truly love each other, accepting that we are all hopelessly flawed and saved by grace. Let us, the glorious bride of Christ start acting our part so that we can finally be in a healthy position to reach out to those that don’t yet know Jesus.
Come to church this Sunday, let’s forgive each other and start over. Let’s show the world that we are His disciples by our love for one another. On behalf of all church leaders, please forgive us for hurting you, you didn’t deserve that. Please understand that we are only human. Come to church this Sunday, let’s work it out.
A hopelessly flawed, saved by grace, still on a journey, pastor.