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What I Love About Church

This will be a hard post to write because I struggle with this topic. Writers want to be understood and not be taken wrong.  However, I realize stepping out on a limb will usually get a reaction.  I am prepared.  Before you judge these statements, please try to read this thoughtfully and not jump to conclusions until you have heard the whole. 

  I struggle with church or at least with what church is suppose to be and isn't.  I want to do church as Biblically as possible but along come real humans with their mess of problems and what comes out of it isn't always Biblical, me included...  This is the kind of stuff that leaves me feeling jaded.

First of all, I have never been typical.  I think unlike others of my faith.  Maybe I am what others would call a reformer.  Because of this, I am never sure if I dare be completely honest about my beliefs about the way we do baptism and church membership.  I truly do hate to make waves, in that way I am chiefest of wimps, but I do not understand how wanting to be more accurate with application according to scripture can be looked upon as a threat. 

But it is.  For example, the believers in Acts believed and were baptized.  It is mentioned that this happens usually on the same day or sometime very soon after believing on Jesus as the Savior of the world and the forgiver of sins.  I have never found where they first had to send new believers through a class requiring six months of acceptable time.

  Voicing an opinion like that though is threatening to some.  To some, it sounds like disrespect for what has worked throughout the ages. Or something.  I don't know.  Anyway, believers baptism was what they did in the early church.  They also baptized with immersion.  And also, members were added to the church daily.  That is stated in the book of Acts as well.

  If they were adding to the church daily new members, I very much doubt if separate vows were taken and if there was a special service to receive these members. I think more accurately, they made their vows to God when they gave their hearts to Jesus. I think being baptized showed the depth of their commitment to being a new man...dead to sin, alive unto Christ.  I believe that was the extent of being added as members to the church.

   Man should not make vows to man unless it is first through the avenue of God.  An example of this is when I made vows to my husband to be faithful to him and to honor him till death do us part, I did it before GOD and witnesses. The danger of making vows to men to show loyalty to a local body of believers is displacing where my commitment ought to be first. 

 It feels heretical to me to hear new members proclaim they love their local church and can't wait to be a part of it.  I wish instead they were saying they love Jesus with all of their hearts and will do all they can to show their support by following Jesus as closely as possible, by being dedicated to sharing Jesus with others, and by dying daily to self through the renewing grace and blood of Jesus.

  I came to this conclusion at a very young age when I was asked to teach school at our local church/ school in Wisconsin.  They(the school board)called a meeting to interview me to see if I was really their only option for their children that particular year.  I had a reputation of being a wild child at that time, a name I had earned partly because I deserved it, mostly because it was the way things were.  But they wanted me to promise to do all the commandment which they had laid down, how I should dress, how I should walk, how I should talk... I sat in that meeting, the only female, asking Jesus what my response should be?  The only answer He gave me was the verse in 1 John about walking as Jesus would.   I believe it was the Holy Spirit that guided my promise that night, that I would do the best I could do and to try to walk as Jesus would walk. 

We walk on dangerous, thin ice when our kids are gleaning love for the local body above love for Jesus.  We are turning our next generation into club members only if they first cannot confess Jesus as Lord of their lives and leave it at that. The mature members that feel threatened about not hearing loyalty points for the local body should stop and think about where their own loyalties lie.  The truth is, if I love Jesus with all my heart, soul, and mind and my neighbor as myself, I will be a 'royal' church member because of it.  No amount of promises to a local church body will hold you to it. The Holy Spirit at work in your life will be more effective in showing the way to being a vibrant part of your local body of believers.

What I do love about the local body of believers of which I am a part...

I love that we are all so typically human.  I love that I am put on for church cleaning once or twice a year, that I get to do this with five other women. 

I love that the whole time I am vacuuming that great big 200 people auditorium I can pray for the families.  On row three on the left side is a long carpet run.  It was love that made that carpet run.  It now belongs there.  It was put there a few Sundays after the new carpet was placed, probably by a wheel of a little kid's matchbox car.  On row five on the right side are usually raisins and cracker crumbs, sometimes pretzel leftovers from a family with small children whom I love very much.

In the youth sections are bits of paper that fell from notebooks.  Nice pens and mechanical pencils get left behind here as do Bibles.  Song books are every which way. I pray for the youth and their commitments to Christ as they take notes and get to know their Bibles.  I remember my Creator and the days of my own youth. I remember searching for answers.

In the front where the pastors and their wives usually sit, I think of them preparing all that spiritual food. I'm sure they feel like they do it sometimes for no compensation.  I know they get lonely and lost some days just like I do.  I'm sure they feel dry as powder at times.  I ask God to give them a close walk with Him, for exuberance to feed the flock, and to not grow weary in well doing. I ask God to keep them humble and kind for I have seen what happens when pastors let their position be of greater importance than their walk with the Lord.

I glance down at my beaten up vacuum cleaner and pray for forgiveness for the person/persons who keeps thrashing my donated machine.  I remember grace.  I remember the times I have been treated with mercy and grace regardless of my shortcomings.  That is a great thing I love about my local body of believers. What is a banged up vacuum cleaner alongside love and forgiveness?

In the section where we normally sit as a family, I remember us in prayer.  That we would be examples of Jesus way.  That we would be peaceable. (How is one to be peaceable when they feel unsure of some of the applications?)  That we could be the family Jesus wants us to be just for HIM and HIS glory. Not for the approval of man in any way, shape, or form.  Knowing that ultimately it is God who approves us and the choices we make.  Knowing that we are a part of this body of believers that teach us about putting up with the human flaws of ordinary people, this brings it all back to center.

Center is, God first, salvation through Jesus, and then faith that He has got a handle on all the inconsistencies that I know are there.  My job is to focus on Him and the feeding of my soul.  Trust... that He can figure out all these human aspects that feel like wrongs to me.

What I love about church is the very thing I stumble over...the things I don't like...those things make me believe more deeply in the One who can answer every question, right every wrong, and forgive every speck of humanness.  I need to be tested to grow in love.  I get to find grace when I find faults in others.  I couldn't exercise my faith as much without the beautifully flawed people I go to church with. They help me become a Christ follower like no one else.


  1. Believers baptism; an act of beliveing and showing the world we believe in Jesus christ the Son of God. How and When can be carried out different ways. In Acts, these are acts of the Apostles, the way they carried out their beliefs. My pick also is; I am glad when in testimony, it is Jesus Christ is honored and glorified. I am glad when they, our youth realize, 'it is Jesus Christ'! Appreciation of the body of believers is wonderful, but our everything is JESUS CHRIST!

    Grandma Ruth

  2. To clarify...despite my fears of what our kids are gleaning from the way we do church, I do believe we have kids that truly do know what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus above anything else...praise God for that!

  3. I think the Body of Christ needs to feel that it is safe to communicate thoughts like you just communicated. That it won't be viewed as "divisive". Fear holds us back from asking questions. You pose some valuable thoughts and questions. I appreciate it. May it loosen the shackles of fear and inspire us all to communicate in love....and grow.


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