The Church is not a denomination or building. The Church is God within us. Believers must assemble to fulfill God’s purpose for His Church.
To many people, church is a place. It’s a building, bricks and mortar, a destination. We go to church. The problem with thinking “we go to church” is that it gives us a consumer mindset: I’m looking for a church that meets my needs. I need a good church that will help me. The church is actually God’s chosen vehicle to meet – through other human beings – people’s true needs (including our own).
Groeschel, Craig. The Christian Atheist. Zondervan, 2010. 219-220
When we approach a church assembly with a consumer mindset, we end up looking for:
- Entertaining worship.
- Bible study groups that tickle our ears.
- Preachers who let us out in time to beat the Sunday restaurant rush.
Interpretation:We often approach church with an 'I' focus instead of a 'God' focus.Click To Tweet
As a result, many of us stop going altogether.
- The pastor offended us.
- It’s full of hypocrites.
- The music is dull, or too loud, or not my style.
- The people in that church do not love me as they are supposed to.
- I can be a Christian without all that.
- It’s OK. I still read my Bible and pray every day.
We are the Church, the Body of Christ
Let’s face it, every church (lowercase) has problems and falls short of what they should be. After all, they overflow with imperfect people — many of whom approach the gathering times with a consumer mindset looking for only what they get out of it.
The only way it will ever change is if we stop ‘going to’ church and instead be The Church — believers purposed not with self but striving onward and upward to glorify and be obedient to God.
The Church is the body of Christ. It cannot deny its relationship to its parts, nor can it reject the purpose of its other parts.
The Parts of the Body
Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
1 Corinthians 12:14-20, NIV
The Struggle is Real
I have struggled and, in all honesty, continue to struggle with churches for varying reasons. Things irritate me. People let me down. I’ve been attacked, hurt, and offended.
- Are churches everything they should be? No.
- Am I? No.
- Are you? No.
- Is God? Yes!
I find myself an imperfect person surrounded by imperfect people serving a perfect God.
If you are struggling with a church, I hope and pray that you may come to the awareness that YOU, as a believer, are a part of the Church, the very Body of Christ. When you separate yourself from the Body, you are missing out on God’s purpose. There will be things with which you disagree. You may be offended, hurt, or even attacked. But, I encourage you to focus on God’s will and purpose instead of zeroing in on “What’s in it for me?”. After all,We, the Church, are imperfect people gathering together to serve a perfect God!Click To Tweet