Have you ever noticed that some Christians value the spiritual organizations they create more than the people who come to them?
I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say I’ve been guilty. It’s amazing how I can become so busy with church organization, reading the latest book and debating eschatology (study of the end times) with other Christians, that I can forget why I started this whole ministry thing in the first place. Honestly, if the people in the church spent as much time connecting with people in the community as they do perfecting their parliamentary procedures, they could change the world!
This process of valuing the organization over the individuals is gradual. The community and the church begin to grow apart. Not just socioeconomically, but even in their philosophical views of value. New young people walk in wearing jeans that cost more than the suits that the older generation is wearing. Our older generation gets so caught up in the difference, they miss that these young individuals are absolutely giving God their best. Their best just looks different. Though systems are unbelievably important, people matter more.
Think about this for a moment. No single church will last forever. Not even the apostle Paul’s churches still stand today. What lasts is the truth that’s planted in the hearts of the people. True church isn’t a building or a style of worship; true church is about the people. I want to express my sadness to those of you who have been hurt by a church that loves its systems over the people.
The church I work at is going to take our resources and begin to reach into the city and across the sea in tangible, measurable ways. I so desperately want to have a faith that blesses the community and shows the love of Christ! My seminary professor Dr. Whitsel said it well, “The light that shines the farthest shines the brightest at home.” We want to join the ranks of those who love people, care for those in need and demonstrate what theology should look like when it moves from just words on a page to lives in action. I fully believe that something comes alive in us and in the church when we make our main focus showing love and taking truth to people.
Matthew 25:40 (ESV) “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”