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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

What Makes a Good Church?

I guess I am always perplexed on what makes people choose the church they attend. I wonder if there are any guides. I know what I try to do when we do church. I don't know if that's what people are looking for.

I want our church to be real. I don't like trying to make it perfect so that everything has to follow a formula. We don't work at making mistakes but mistakes are a part of life. If someone sings the wrong song or gets something out of order, we don't make a big deal out of it. We work with people who are expressing their love for the Lord. If the love for the Lord is there and they haven't been negligent in their preparations, then, sometimes we mess up. It is part of being real.

I want our church to really worship. That can't always be created. Sometimes our attempts have too much of us in them and too little of God. It is so easy to make worship design something that we put on paper rather than think how what we are doing will help people worship. It is a struggle. Sometimes the flesh takes over and we design and do something truly created by the flesh. Sometimes God takes that and creates worship anyway. That's why I come to church every Sunday morning hours before anyone else arrives. I pray that we will worship. I know that it has been imperfect human beings who have designed what we will do that day. I ask God to intervene and help us become the worshipers He would want.

I want our church to continue to be loving. Thalia Lynn is the most loving church I have every attended (much less, pastored!). I am amazed at the care the people give to others. There are so many mission projects which truly meet needs that I have lost track. They genuinely greet people in the halls and sanctuary with a true concern. They love being together and especially eating together. If people knew how truly loving Thalia Lynn is they would break in on Saturday nights just to make sure we weren't meeting early.

I want our church to continue to be forgiving. Thalia Lynn doesn't care what your past is. We are all sinners who have done things we wouldn't want to publicize. We don't want people to think less of themselves because of their pasts. This is not the church for those who want a perfect people who never do anything wrong. We have been forgiven for the things we have done wrong and we know that others need forgiveness because we have received it ourselves.
I want all our church members to know God's place of service and serve there because it is best for them. Many times people think that service is a burden. They join a church but don't expect to do anything. Membership in many civic clubs require more from people than most churches. But service is something that God calls us to for the purpose of doing something better in our lives than we would have received if we hadn't served. Not all areas of service for all people. I want people to discover that place that gets them excited and go at it with gusto.

I want our church to be biblical and not merely denominational. The Bible is the authoritative word of God. It contains the testimonies of people who walked with God. It contains the instructions we need for life to be full. It is not political in that it determines which party to vote for. It is moral. It is truth. I want to have each member be able to read the Bible and have that priesthood of the believer understanding that God will help them with the application of the scriptures. I believe in the power of God's word to be effective. I don't believe we need a denomination to tell us how we must apply these scriptures. I see that is the problem the Pharisees had with Jesus. Many of them missed Him because they couldn't escape the application of the scriptures they had always had. On the other hand, I do appreciate the denominations because I believe they allow us to do more together than we could separately. I just don't want them telling us how we must believe on every jot and tittle.

I want our church to see souls come to know Jesus as their Savior and Lord. That should happen because we witness, give, send missionaries, commission people to service and plan to tell our world of a loving Christ by meeting the needs of people. We have and will continue to go on mission trips, pray for missionaries and rejoice with each person who comes to know Christ.

I want our church to grow-both inside and out. I want people to grow spiritually and have a vital relationship with Christ. I want the church to grow in numbers, too. This means we are reaching people for Christ.

This is what I work for. This is what gives me real joy. I am so fortunate to be in this church.

1 comment:

navybrat said...

Thanks so much for the "real" article. Sometimes church is too much of a business and social club. Sometimes "christians" are horrible to each other and very critical of others who are not like themselves. I hate that. When I have a negative day thinking about it, I'll remember your thoughts on church being "real". Thanks for that.