I frequently hear people say they are into God but not the organized church. Normally they have been disappointed in some way by the church but are not ready to give up their faith completely. Having worked for a church my entire adult life, I understand how it feels to be hurt by a church. I have been underpaid and overworked my entire life by the church. Often the people in church who demand the largest portion of my time and energy are the same ones that complain about me the most to everyone else in the church. There is nothing more frustrating than pouring your life into someone only to have them turn on you and attack you. I know exactly what it means to be hurt by the church, I have experienced it more times than you can imagine.
Yet, I continue to remain loyal to the church. Perhaps it is because I understand that a church is made up of people. And people are not perfect. Even Christian people make mistakes. I have learned the value of forgiveness and the need to keep my eyes focused on Jesus, not people. If I focus on the actions of people in the church, I will frequently be disappointed. But if I focus on the Head of the Church, Jesus, then I will love the church, even when it disappoints me.
When thinking about the organized church, one must be practical. From a practical perspective, it would be difficult to accomplish much without some kind of organizational system to help make it happen. How many soup kitchens, homeless shelters, crisis pregnancy centers, youth groups, job training programs, after school programs, etc are operated by churches? Those churches have facilities and structures already in place to help those programs operate efficiently and effectively. Do you know any of these types of programs that are operated effectively or consistently by any “unorganized” groups? The nature of the universe requires some system of organization. And it seems that if we “dismantle” the church, we would just have to turn around and recreate something quite similar in order to accomplish the same things. Why not just keep the organized church to begin with?
Perhaps instead of complaining about the church, we should roll up our sleeves and get involved in the church? Perhaps you and I are the solution the church has been looking for? Perhaps you and I are the ones to help the church finally become all that it should be? Perhaps the God we say we love wants us to lead the church that He loves?
These are thoughts we must consider before we abandon the church, even when it disappoints us and hurts us. You and I must BE the church!