Ok, don’t stop loving your church, but that phrase might just be holding you and your church back from seeing what God wants to do in 2020. There is nothing wrong with loving your church as an extension of Christ, but what if that is not what is happening?
During my ministry career I have had the privilege of preaching and visiting various churches and have gotten to know some amazing people. But there is one phrase that comes up a lot when people talk about where they go to church. That phrase is “we really love our church.” Let me be amongst the first people to say, stop. Stop loving your church.
When a pastor says “I love my church,” I cringe because I know what most likely lies beneath statements like that.
There is a subtle undertone in this phrase that can create tension for the advancement of the Kingdom of God in your community. It is the ‘My’ and ‘Our’ ownership pieces. Why is that bad though? Don’t you want people to love their church and be proud of what they are building? Yes, of course. But ‘my’ and ‘our’ more often than not are statements that mean, I have built this to feel like me, look like me and express my personality.
In an evangelistic age (anything after the Great Commission was given and Greatest Commandment was spoken) it isn’t about us anymore. It is about telling people about Jesus. If our churches resemble us and what we like (as experienced Christians) we will do really good at attracting like minded believers from other Churches. The sheep will bounce from new barn to new barn, depending on what they think of the style and pastor that week.
When we get to the point where we love our church sooo much… any concept that remotely resembles modernization and change become like a gut punch. “Everything else can change, but how dare you change anything in my church. That’s the Lord’s church and it looks just like me.” It is these thoughts that keep us stagnant and halt what God wants to do.
This one statement might help. Your feelings for your church have nothing to do with how much you love Jesus. I can love what the scouts do but that has nothing to do with how I feel about smokey the bear. (yes that was the best example I could come up with)
Do you remember the Pharisees fighting anything that caused change to what they already knew? I will give you a hint, his name was Jesus. He taught differently, thought differently and pushed people out of their comfort zones. The disciples got it and followed. But even they had their moments when change was hard to deal with. The bottom line is this is not new. The pharisees loved their church, their way. The disciples wanted to see what was possible.
If we flip this on its head and start saying, “I love Jesus more than the church” we will be getting somewhere. Realistically, Jesus loves the church more than anyone else should. We are the church. We shouldn’t be engaged in loving ourselves but transforming into the light on the hill that he asked us to be.
I want my life to be filled with the wonder of the disciples and think, “what is possible” not be afraid that what I love will not always exist the way it is now. I want to love Christ’s church, not my church.
Some thoughts this week from Michael and Amberley