The church is God's idea. Not mine. Not yours. Not religious leaders. No, the church is God's idea. I respect and appreciate what God was doing in Scripture as he reveals to all of us what he has in mind for a church. What wears me out though, is the church. No, not the church as God designed. I'm talking about the church that human beings have often shaped in their own image. I get tired of this church. This isn't anything recent. In fact, I have noticed for many, many years that the following seems to drain me of energy. What about you?
1. I get tired of the church that protects forms and forgets the functions that were intended by God.
2. I get tired of the church that allows the vocal minority to handcuff the rest of the church.
3. I get tired of the church that still sees the church as sectarian (the only right bunch) and then seems chagrined that people from the community are offended at this.
4. I get tired of the church that has its meetings, its committees, its special programs, and doesn't seem to realize this endless activity is no indicator that we know Jesus or are displaying him in our lives.
5. I get tired of the church that drags its feet, moving along with no sense of urgency. This is the church that eventually extinguishes the dreams of its people. This is done not through malice but through neglect and passivity.
I mention these not to place blame on anyone. I do think that if we are not careful, we can easily slip into any one (or more) of the five characteristics I have just described. We do not have to settle for this. We do have to pay attention to what God desires as revealed in the BIble.
Let me suggest to you that there is another way of coming at this that produces energy and hope. I get energized when I see God at work among his people.
1. I get energized by men and women whose love for Jesus has caused them to repent, worship, and serve God without self-consciousness. They just don't care what others think.
2. I get energized by dreamers! Men and women who see a need and connect that need with their gifts.
3. I get energized by women and men who are passionate about what God wants to do in this world! Men and women who love God relentlessly and who have a real thirst to experience all that Jesus is.
4. I get energized by people who remember our mission. People, like my friend at lunch today, who are committing money to China this year. I loved hearing him talk about how his whole family meets together every year to decide where they would be sending some of their money for the year.
5. I get energized by people who want to risk and dare to trust God to take care of his people and his mission.
Tired of the church? Yes. But I'm not tired of what God is doing through his people. I just don't want to settle. When I do, something will have died in me.