Monday, June 27, 2005

the "right" kind of church

i recently had a conversation with a friend who says that he wants to find a church community but that he just can't find the "right" kind of church.

i asked him what he meant by that and his response focused on the problem of politics in the church. he cited that he couldn't stand the thought of many people standing around complaining about X or Y and then not doing anything to correct it. he also made a scathing remark about the fact that many pastors preach reconcilation but then are the main initiators of fights.

i had two responses to these ideas.

the first was an internal defensive response that wanted to shout back with the reality that no organization is without fights or multiple opinions. i also wanted to make it clear that being a "solo" Christian is not an option, unless you want to remain in the same place.

the other response was a broken heart for him and for the many, many, many individuals who feel the same thing. unfortunately, the movement to "non-denominational" churches hasn't solved that problem as the same problems are found in those churches as the big "institutions." my heart was broken because this barrier is keeping many individuals from the community that they need, even if the community includes potential and often realized back-stabbing, gossip-happy, competition-driven, self-righteous people.

he stated that he couldn't wait to come to the church that he wants me to start. i quickly responded that i would let him down much like every other pastor has let him down but that i would try my best, in God's grace, to be a servant and shepherd of the people that God puts under my care.

what is the type of church that can be the "right" kind of church for this person?

one aspect is certain. the "right" kind of church must be one that doesn't focus on itself but focuses on following Christ's example of being a servant. Scripture shows over and over how disunity comes when individuals look to their own desires and wants but that unity is present when the people are focused on God and God's work in the form of serving others. maybe one day, the person i talked with will be part of a church that is serving...

classic verse that still rings in my ear --
John 12:26
Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

i must be months away from my seminary studies because i am actually quoting the Bible in this blog... that comment is enough to get a lot of people talking...