Something that has been on my mind recently is our commitment to the local church.
As a pastor this is something that concerns me a great deal. The church, a local community of Jesus followers, is a gift from God.
In the church we have people who are there to support us, encourage us, grieve with us, and help us. It is a community where we find acceptance and belonging. At its best a local church provides the environment needed for discipleship to happen.
Granted, local churches are rarely at their best. The realities of poor leadership, personal agendas, and inconsistent attendance make it difficult for the church to feel like home.
I agree, being part of a local church can be a lot of work and it can be messy. There are many reasons that making a commitment to a local church is difficult.
This morning on Twitter I saw this:
I think many of the problems we have with the various expressions of the local church come back to consumerism.
We have these expectations of what the church should be like and when it doesn’t live up to our expectations we are willing to leave. It doesn’t matter that we are handicapping that church as they seek to take the Gospel into the world, because our needs aren’t being met.
All our different expectations are not what makes a church a church.
The reality is that there is not much a group of believers need in order to form a church. One thing that is essential for a church to exist is commitment.
We were created to bear God’s image in this world. The full expression of that image comes when we are working together as we love one another as we serve the world.
That is when we truly become the body of Christ.
This is why leaving a local church family handicaps them. It is like removing a hand, leg, or eye from a person. Sure, he still can function, but his ability to do work is limited.
Leaving a church may not kill the church, but you make it more difficult for them to do ministry.
I am not saying you can never leave a church.
I am saying that by making the church something you attend or a service that you receive, you make it easy to hop from church to church when your expectations are not met.
In this way you handicap the mission of the church.
Being committed to a local church is a responsibility that we have as followers of Jesus.
I want to encourage you to commit to a local church, even if the sermons are boring, the music off key, and the people are a mess, because you will be a blessing to them, and through them God will bless you.