A few weeks ago, I listened politely as a friend listed her complaints against the church my husband and I attend. It wasn’t the first time I had heard someone raise concerns about something they didn’t agree with or didn’t suit their own personal preferences, so as I listened, I prayed, as I have learned to do for this person and their struggle and for the Lord to make it clear to them why the situation is as it is. Since that conversation, I have been thinking over our journey to our home church and how thankful I am that God has planted us in this body of believers. Experience has taught me that no one particular church is going to adequately or fully reflect the true Body of Christ (until we are all together in Heaven!). It is a sad truth that we spend a lot of time tearing down other churches and denominations because they don’t fit our personal tastes. I, myself, have my own biases and prejudices against other believers and it is something I very much want the Lord to change in me. But, we also need to remind ourselves that the Lord does plant us in our church bodies intentionally.
In light of that, I want to post ten things I love about my own church. Not as a defense, but as a testimony of the power of God at work in my own life.
1. I love that we study through the Bible, chapter by chapter, verse by verse. It is orderly and thorough and easy to follow. There is always more to learn!
2. I love that our pastor is clearly called by God as a teacher and is gifted with wisdom and knowledge. He doesn’t try to be everything to everyone, but to be what God made him to be–our pastor-teacher.
3. I love that we have sent so many people into the mission field from our body. It is beautiful to see our mission bulletin board filled with pictures of others serving the Lord.
4. I love that our children are not given just “basic” Biblical facts but are given the entire Word of God in a form they are able to comprehend and respond to. We have seen so much fruit from our Children’s Church!
5. I love that our worship is simple but relevant. Our worship leaders aren’t performing music, but ministering to the heart of God. No one stands out on the worship team, but everyone blends into one voice, helping us all to remember to focus on the Lord, not the music.
6. I love the way our church weathers storms. When others have attempted to undermine the authority of our church leadership or have grumbled and complained in an effort to affect change, I always see the leaders of our church on their knees in prayer before dealing with the situation. And, they deal with problems Biblically, rather than in a committee or by a vote.
7. I love that we love people. Our body has loved on the homeless, the imprisoned, drug addicts, alcoholics, victims of violence, the divorced, the bankrupt, the confused, the scared, the unbelieving. I love that there is always room for someone who is searching, even when they may not know Who they are searching for.
8. I love our radio station. Though it is only a low-watt station and only serves our community, it has been life-changing for me. When our oldest was a baby, the radio programs I listened to throughout the day changed my attitude and heart. Our radio station has reached deep into the lives of many in our community and shared Christ.
9. I love our bookstore. Though it is small, it is mighty! The books are offered at cost so that anyone can easily afford basic tools to study the Bible. The bookstore also offers free music on the weekends. It’s located directly across from a popular local bar and we have seen some folks wander in, looking for escape from the bar life.
10. I love that we are fulfilling the purpose that God has for us as a body of believers. While there is always room to grow and develop, I see so much evidence of the working of the Holy Spirit in our body. It isn’t the right fit for everyone–no church is–but for those of us called to be a part of this body, it is the exact right match. We are challenged to conform to God’s image, we are encouraged to study His Word.