There is no perfect church
By: Emily Saxe
Church hate. It’s a popular thing these days in America. More specifically, about America.
Why? Because the idea has spread that churches in America have lost sight of what it means to be a church. Some point to other countries and how the people there rely on God, accusing churches in America of having shallow faith in comparison. I can completely agree that there are many, many churches in America that have strayed from Biblical truth. There are also those who preach gospels of their own, claiming what they have to say is actually what God meant.
But I simply can’t jump on board with the overarching statements that American churches have lost sight of what it means to be a church. That we’re “doing” church wrong. That people in other countries know how to “do” church because they fight against persecution. Yes, they most definitely have a greater appreciation for worshiping God as a community of believers, but that doesn’t mean we in America have it all wrong.
Maybe I feel so strongly about this topic because the church I attend doesn’t fit the stereotypes of an American church gone wrong.
Our top priority is to worship God together
Church isn’t about where you meet, how often you meet or how many songs you sing. It’s about coming together as a family of believers in Christ and worshiping the God of the universe.
So many have lost sight of this when they think we need to go back to what the early church looked like. But we’re not the early church. In America, we don’t have to hide in homes in order to hear the word of God. We don’t need to share all our possessions and live in one community.
Maybe church in America has strayed from the intimacy of how the first church started, but praise God there are so many people coming to worship and hear His words that we need to place pastors and teachers up at the front with microphones. It’s not setting people up to have more importance, it’s just what’s needed for all to see and hear.
My church does a beautiful job of ensuring we as a body come together to worship as our top priority. It’s not about numbers. It’s not about those on stage getting their moments to shine. It’s about worshiping the God who created us and who sits enthroned as the King of kings.
We believe the gospel
It saddens my heart when I hear about churches taking the word of God and twisting it to mean what they desire it to mean. I can only imagine how much righteous anger God has when He hears lies and deceit masquerading as His truth.
At my church, we believe every word of the Bible is God-breathed. We do not add to it. We do not adjust it. We do not change meaning. God’s word is God’s word, and it baffles me that so many try to take it and say certain commands and truths don’t apply anymore. If that’s the case, then God’s character has changed. And who wants to worship a God who changes His mind on what truth is?
No, we teach from the very words of the Bible. We believe the gospel.
Church doesn’t just happen at church
Large-group Bible studies, small-group Bible studies, serving in the community and mission work are all important to our church family. We don’t just meet together on a Sunday morning and check it off our list. We live in community with each other. We share meals together, help and pray for those in need, study God’s word together.
Church isn’t just about Sunday mornings. Yes, those are the wonderful moments when we all come together as one. But church isn’t the building, it’s the people. It’s Christ’s body. We are His body. And so we grow together during the week, too.
And there’s nothing quite like your church family coming around you and supporting you when you need help. Because we may not all share the same possessions, but we hold the things of this world loosely, knowing it all belongs to God. And so when one person struggles, we come to help.
No church is perfect
I need to stress, though, that no church is perfect. My church, as much as I love it, is not perfect. I’ve been hurt by people and even staff members from this church. I don’t always agree with every point of every sermon. I think there is a lot of growth needed in how we minister to the non-church community in our town.
I don’t say those things to speak poorly of my church. Rather, I want to be transparent in that you will never find a church that has everything together all the time. We’re only human, after all. But there are churches out there, mine included, who have a good grasp on what church is all about. Just because we live in America doesn’t mean we don’t worship God and trust Him like those in other countries. Sure, it looks different. But that doesn’t make it less authentic.
If you’re looking for a church, be sure to look for the important things. Is the church’s priority worshiping God? Does the pastor preach only the truth of the gospel? Do the people of the church love each other, or simply walk in and walk out each Sunday?
There is no perfect church. But there certainly are a lot of great ones.