23 years ago, we wound up in Mississippi; shortly after, we joined an amazing church. And a flawed church (the same church). To paraphrase Tony Campolo, I know it's a flawed church because it allowed me to join!
Here's the thing: your church is also a flawed church. This is true wherever your church is located, and whatever its slice of the denominational pie. Repeat after me: "I attend a flawed church." Hopefully, yours--like mine!--is a good church, but it is flawed.
(If you disagree that yours is a flawed church, then either you don't know very much about it, or you don't know what the word "flawed" means, or you don't understand the concept of & need for grace very well.)
Now that we got that straight, let's proceed with talking about my flawed church for which I am so very grateful.
It was a good church long before I came. Long before I was born, actually.
In the 22 years we've been members, the church has had three pastors and two interim pastors. The church has survived two of those leaving under significant clouds. The church has survived excellent staff leaving as God led them to other avenues of service (aside: three former staff members have planted churches in different areas--Jackson, MS, New England, and South FL--that are all doing well and are all seeing adults come to Christ out of totally un-churched backgrounds.) The church has moved locations; for a while, we were a multi-campus church. The church has survived a former staff member's flagrant attempt to split it up and/or take it down. That's just one of a few very nasty situations the church has survived. (If you're wondering, there are multiple blog entries in my "draft" folder about that situation that will never see the light of day, as they are too non-edifying. You're welcome.)
My church is flawed because--like your church--it is led by flawed staff members.
My church is flawed because--like your church--it is led by flawed lay leaders.
(For example, mine has this one deeply-flawed dude that leads an adult Bible study; elderly gent who hails from the beaches of NW FL originally and who is now a college professor. *clears throat*)
My church is flawed because--like your church--it sometimes focuses too much on its own members.
My church is flawed because--like your church--it sometimes doesn't focus enough on its own members.
My church is flawed because--like your church--it sometimes focuses too much on facilities.
My church is flawed because--like your church--it sometimes doesn't focus enough on facilities.
Basically, my church is flawed because--like your church--it is led by and attended by flawed people. Like me. And like you.
And yet, by the sustaining grace of God, this flawed church is still there, proclaiming the Gospel and impacting the community and the world.
Only that same grace of God could work through such a flawed church as mine. (And yours.)
Only that same grace of God could work through such flawed people as me. (And you.)
My particular church has just called a new pastor; he'll start today. We were out of town when he visited--thus I've never heard him preach & never met him. But I'm hearing a lot of excitement about the guy. I know I'm excited about a new pastor, & thus a new phase in the life of my church.
I'm thankful for my flawed church that proclaims a perfect Gospel of a perfect God who send a perfect Savior to live a perfect life and die a horrible death to obtain salvation for a flawed people who would attend flawed churches from the 30s A.D. until, well, at least now...I'm prayerfully optimistic that if the Lord tarries, my flawed church will still be proclaiming that perfect Gospel long after my faith becomes sight. Mostly because that perfect God is still on his throne dispensing grace beyond measure on flawed people and their flawed churches.
Very excited about this new chapter in the life of my church,
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:4-10 ESV)