I am reading a book right now called Sifted: Pursuing Growth Through Trials, Challenges, and Disappointments by Wayne Cordeiro. I am finding myself highlighting a number of places in this book, both as things I resonate with and things that I want to remember as I am learning and growing – sometimes through the hard stuff. One of the sections I read last week talked about the role of church in our lives and particularly, what we should NOT be expecting of the church. Here is what he had to say:
It may sound strange, but there is a sense in which I can truthfully say that the church does not exist to help people, to solve their problems and alleviate their disappointments. Not ultimately, at least. The primary reason the church exists is to worship God and to point people to Christ, the ultimate solution to their problems. We are called to be the hands and feet of Christ, and I strongly believe that the Bible teaches us that the church is called to help people in practical ways. But our work should draw attention to the one who has saved us, the one who has solved our problems and given us hope in place of our disappointment. We point people to Christ, and we do ourselves a disservice any time we position ourselves as the ultimate answer to people’s problems.
- The church will not always make you feel comfortable.
- The church will not be the answer to your every need.
- You will sometimes not like what happens at church.
- You might leave a service unhappy once in a while, particularly if you are seeing your sin in light of God’s righteousness.
- If you are a single person, going to church will not guarantee you a spouse.
- Going to church will not guarantee that your children will not rebel.
- Going to church is not the answer to all your financial problems.
- You might not get along with everybody you meet at church.
- You might hate the color of the carpet, the taste of the coffee, and the shirt your pastor wears.
In our consumer culture, many times I think people choose churches based how good it makes them feel, how well-organized the children’s programming is, what the church looks like, what the people in the church look like, or some other non-spiritual expectation of what church should be or how well the church meets their needs. But those are not the things that should be the deciding factor for attending church. The ultimate question should be, “Is this church pointing the way to Jesus?” If the answer to that question is “yes,” then that should be enough, and our next question should be, “how can I be a part of pointing people to Jesus?”
Just some of my thoughts today as I continue to follow Jesus and hopefully point others to Him.
What do you think?