God builds churches with broken people.
Have you noticed that? I mean, they look so nice lined up in those straight rows…they have all pretty much passed the sniff test – no smoke on their breath. They’ll be glad to talk to you about all the stuff they’ve stopped doing. But then when you get close you begin to notice there are a lot of sinful people in there. At first blush it kind of inspires you to stay away. It can actually be pretty disappointing.
Fact is, more often than not it’s the sign of a normal, functioning church. Here’s the story: Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. It’s about a direction, not a destination. When folks begin getting tight with a church it isn’t a sign they have arrived; it’s a sign they know where they’re headed and they want all the help they can get on the journey.
So an elder starts a rumor…a deacon loses his cool…the organist insists on playing that same chord wrong on all four stanzas…the pastor isn’t as gracious as he/she should be to someone in the foyer…I’m sorry for all of that, but I’m glad they’re there. In church. That’s where they need to be. It’s a special place where God has designed that transformation takes place. It’s like a hospital; not a place where people go because they’re well, but because they want to get well. It’s like a school; not a place where people go as a sign they’re educated but because they want to learn.
So here’s the deal: The church is a place where people are learning to treat each other as God treats them. Patient, not critical. Forgiving, not judgmental. Accepted, not marginalized. As family, not strangers.
And it’s those very broken people God uses to build His church. After all, He has only broken people to work with. People in the process of finding healing. People in the process of learning. People who forgive because they’ve been forgiven. People learning to be loving because they’re understanding what it means to be loved. People learning to be patient because they’ve so often themselves had to ask forgiveness.
That’s why you often see those prayer huddles around the worship center after the benediction; broken people ministering to other broken people. That’s church.
By Don Jacobsen