Country Club or Hospital?
Well, I'm back to thinking again. It seems to me that many churches are in a struggle to define who they really are and what their purpose is. They try church growth methods, programs and special events. All of these can be good to focus us and maybe create some enthusiasm BUT they do NOT define who we are. In fact, in observing many churches, one might think that they are just duplicates of the Corinthian church, "having a form of godliness but denying the power...".
Here's what I am thinking, we have often made our churches little country clubs. Oh, we do good but in order to be part of our church ("country club") you must conform to our set of standards and lifestyle. Now it varies with each church what those standards and lifestyles are BUT it is all about conformity. We spiritualize it by saying we are just trying to protect the church OR keep it holy. Have we forgotten that Christ said HE would present His Church blameless? It really is NOT our job!
We need to become hospitals, bringing healing not conformity. We need to be safe places where the hurting can be open and transparent without fear of rejection or recrimination. Now becoming hospitals will definitely bring change. It will bring change in budgeting, focus, programming, lifestyle and the Spirit within the church. It will mean people will come AND stay, who are dirty (physically, emotionally and spiritually). It will also mean people will come who are hurting from addictions, abuse, guilt and hopelessness. Your church may even become seen as the "garbage collecting" church BUT you will be doing what Jesus commands us to do, LOVE (do well for). Love will absolutely transform your church through the power of the Holy Spirit.
We have a choice. try to transform our world by attempting to make people adopt our standards and lifestyle OR actually transform the world by loving people where they are and bring healing by letting the Holy Spirit transform them in His time and His way.
Really, it is just a matter of law (country club) or love (hospital), but then again, it is just me, thinking!