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Before You Give Up on the Church, Read This


I think many churches can be better than they are. They don’t look as much like Jesus as they could. They have an inward focus on self-preservation rather than being a life-giver to their community.

Imagine your church to be a place where stories of transformed lives are created every day.

One big lesson I have learned from life

Next to Jesus, Joan is the best gift that God ever gave me. In our 42 years together we’ve raised 4 children, welcomed 8 (soon 9) grandchildren, pastored 2 churches, and accumulated a ton of memories.

Life has been good but sometimes hard.

Just because you love someone doesn’t mean it’s easy living with him or her. We both have flaws. We’ve hurt each other. But we have pushed through the pain, made adjustments, and our love has grown stronger.

You lose when you quit

The same is true with the church. There are times we could have given up on it.

Twice we have stepped out of church leadership for a season to give our hearts, minds, and bodies a chance to heal. But even in those times we stayed engaged with the church as active members.

You can’t walk away from something that has given you life.

You can’t forget that we all bring brokenness that complicates relationships.

And you can’t reject the people of God without hurting the heart of Jesus who loves us all with an unfailing love.

3 guidelines for redesigning the church

1. Approach with prayer: We must remember that when we are tinkering with the church the eyes of Jesus are upon us. He clearly told us that he would build his church and nothing would be able to stand against it. Our efforts to redesign the church will either support or oppose God’s intentions in the world.

2. Life is messy: The church consists entirely of imperfect people. Eyes of grace see the beauty in the ashes. I have experienced the joys and the pain of encounters with imperfect people. Sadly, I have contributed to the joys and pain of others. But we are still in love. And there are others who need what we have to give.

3. Don’t lose the wonder: The church is an amazing, complex, mysterious, beautiful creation. And no wonder, for she was conceived in the mind of Jesus and is the bride he adores. To him we are a beautiful mess.

So, I come to the writing of this blog with reverence and gratitude. I want my words to honor my savior and build up his church.

This is my gift of gratitude to Jesus for all he and his church have done for my family and me.

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[This is my final blog post for 2014. After the first of the New Year I plan to write about the 5 key components of organization and why they are so important to the health of the church.]

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