Ever notice how everyone has a different idea of the perfect church? A lot of times, you can only tell by what they don’t like in a church but we all have our idea of the ‘ideal church.’ My in-laws value friendliness, especially in the pastor/preacher. One of our favorite ministers was found lacking in their view because in his natural shyness, he wasn’t blatantly open and welcoming. My parents, on the other hand, value space. They don’t want to be smothered by friendly faces as they enter the door. They don’t know you, they aren’t your new best friend. Give ’em room.
I was thinking about this today as I pondered the different kinds of churches and I realized, that this is the point of the church. We are to be “all things to all men” when we can but of course we can’t truly do that especially when there are many different kinds of “men” at one time but we can individually help make the corporate church a place of comfort.
Some of the best advice I’ve ever been given is to be the church you want to have. If you want to enter the doors and feel welcome, then by all means, welcome people as you would be. If you’d want a little space to warm up and get to know someone, then do that. If you want a church where children are valued, value the children around you- especially those that aren’t easy. If you want a church where educational choice is respected, then show respect for the authority of parents who make different choices than you have. If you value modesty, then be an example of modesty in all things.
In a world of things that can divide God’s church even farther than it already is, why do we let things that aren’t a threat to the purity of doctrine, be such bones of contention? So the teens have pizza parties and you don’t see that as a legitimate use of church funds and time- does the doctrine from the pulpit align with the Word? So the ladies have retreats and you’re convicted to serve in your home- is what is taught there Scriptural? So there isn’t a welcoming committee to every new visitor- is Jesus welcomed there?
This world is full of fallen people. The church is full of fallen but redeemed people. That is proof that every facet of Christ’s church has redeeming qualities- the Holy Spirit resides there. Do we “quench” the Holy Spirit by our lukewarm attitude toward the less than perfect among us? Have we become so arrogant as to forget that in our critique of the imperfections of others around us that we too are imperfect and part of someone else’s idea of an imperfect church?
Oh that we’d become deeper than the sum total of our personal preferences or convictions