Love Your Church Or Leave It

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Perhaps there is nothing more encouraging than to hear people talk lovingly about their church. Perhaps there is nothing more discouraging than to hear people tear down their church. Both of these statements ring true. Sure your church is not perfect. If you think it is you are either unaware of some things or you are in denial. Church is the people of Christ and where there are people, you will have brokenness and sin. But that in no way excuses us to speak negatively of Christ’s body.

If you can’t speak highly of your church then you need to do some soul searching. Maybe you are the issue. Maybe you are overly critical or you have an issue with one or two people and are judging the whole church on that. Maybe you only have half the story on a situation. Or if you are not the issue maybe your church has strayed from Christ and what He is about. If that is the case then you need to decide can you love it through this as you pray and influence it towards Christ? If not then it is time for you to find another church home that you can fully support. Venting your critical opinions to those in your community is Satan’s will for you. No way Christ is honored by it. It is a selfish act and hurts the kingdom.

Love your church. God sure does. Many of you do this well and I think God is glorified in you for it.

Here are a few specific ways you can express your love for your church.

Be honest with yourself and others that your church is not perfect.

When someone comes to me and says I know people in your church who do this or that, I do not collapse to the floor in devastation or lash out at those sinners. It confirms what I already know… people are sinful, including those who go to church. Like me, they are in process. I don’t defend sinful actions in our people but I do not condemn them or lose perspective that God is at work in them. I too am a work in process and don’t want to condemn them, in fear I would be condemned too.

Support your Leadership.

You should be an encouragement to your pastors, teachers, elders, and deacons. They too are not perfect and will make mistakes. Show them grace. Defend them to the community. Support them in their efforts to lead the church in the will of God. If you can’t then I bet you know what I am going to say… Check your heart and motive and then make a decision to support or leave.

Maintain Perspective. It is the body of Christ.

Christ loves His church. He died for it. There are no circumstances where he wants you judging it. As head off the church, Christ will hold His church accountable. We need to let Him do that. We do well to remember that this imperfect group of people is very valuable to Christ (1 Cor. 12:27).

Focus on the redeeming qualities of your church

I am sure there are many things about your church that are commendable. Areas where God’s hand is evident. This should be a focus of ours. Paul said to the church in Philippi… whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Phil. 4:8)

Buy fully into the vision of the church

Trust that your leadership has sought God and is following the vision He has given them through His word. If you are confident that this vision is not in accordance with His word then you should run from that church. I mean you are saying that they are not following God. The is a bold accusation! Be careful to make it.  Make sure you are not confusing worship style with vision or decor with vision or anything else that is not about the message.

When something happens that you can’t support then handle it biblically.

What if something happens at your church that you know is not biblical? If you have influence then approach the parties involved and directly speak to it. Don’t gossip about it or lash out in other ways. Go to that person(s) as we are instructed in Matthew 18. Bathe whatever action you are going to take in prayer. Make sure you go humbly and graciously. Trust God to lead you as you seek Him.

 

If we want the church to take notice of Christ then they must see that His body is healthy. Is there a greater witness to the lost than for them to hear you uplift your church? Love your church. They are your brothers and sisters. God demands that you love them if you are in the family.

8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:8

I want to make a challenge to you. For the next 30 days what if you intentionally looked for the good in the people and cirmumstances around you? How might that change your perspective on things? When I get critical in my spirit it really effects me negatively in all areas of life. Seeing the positive in people or circumstances does not mean you have to ignore the issues those people or circumstances bring. It just keeps you from seeing everything as completely bad when God wants to show you good that can come from it. For example, let’s say a coworker gossiped about you and you found out. Your tendency would be to think evil thoughts about that person to where you saw nothing good about them. What if you were able to still pinpoint good things about them but also address the issue? “Sally is a hard worker but what she said about me was untrue.” Now that is perspective and if we have right perspective, we are more apt to handle situations like these in a way that honors God. When we handle it in the flesh we go after the “Sally’s” in our life with venomous words and feelings. How does this honor God in any way? I think we tend to react negatively to someone who hurts or offends us because it feels so natural to respond that way. We like what feels natural, but natural means we are in the flesh and that never honors God.

If you are willing to do this challenge, why not make these 30 days a testimony to challenge others? What if you posted on Facebook or sent an email to friends letting them know you are going to focus in on what is good, what is lovely, what is commendable when it comes to your spouse, job, health, social status, material possessions, coworkers, children, etc.. Share throughout your journey how this is changing things in you. I promise that if you approach things positively you will see them in a new light. If you take me up on this challenge you will see change happen in your life. Others will notice it and react in a better way to you as well. Let the challenge begin!

All things work together for the good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:38).