THERE IS NO PERFECT CHURCH
By: Pauline Lee
(I can be reached at email@example.com. Unfortunately I do not subscribe to Faithwriter's Private Messaging service)
I believe many of us have either heard or spoken those very words. Some are still pondering whether they are in the right church. Although we all know the church comprises of sinners and all of varying degrees of faith, we are still provoked with the idea of a perfect church.
My church has its share of problems. The bigger a church, the more trouble there will certainly be. This is inevitable when people are opinionated and divided in their beliefs and values.
A few months ago, I met a Christian sister from another church. She asked me if I was still attending the same church. She looked astonishingly shocked when I told her yes. She began to tell me a string of rumors she had heard from her friends. Most of the stories were linked to the church funds being manipulated for personal gain by the pastors and deacons. I told her that rumors were not facts and her friends ought to provide evidence before ranting such unnecessary tales. She kept convincing me that she had heard not just from one source, but several. I decided to listen into the details and avoided disagreement that would possibly augment into serious misunderstanding. When she had finished talking, I conveyed my gratitude and realized she was just an overly concerned friend.
That night, I returned home and was disturbed by the remarks and rumors. My church was persecuted and had diminished in reputation. The kind of slandering made was definitely something not to be taken lightly. So I decided to bring the subject before the Lord in prayer. As a result I adopted a more skeptical persona towards the church. Lately I found the sermons to be lacking in spiritual depth. I demonstrated disagreement with the worship patterns that comprised too much emotional gesture. I displayed disapproval of a pastor's rude behavior towards a church worker. The Sunday school was lacking in attendance and everyone knew very well the reason for such. Lastly I asked one of the leaders about her recent missions trip overseas. But what I got in return was "later, later...it's not important". I thought about the church building fund of which tens of millions of dollars was going to be spent on buying a piece of land in a suburban area of the city outskirts. I asked whether there was going to be another fund raising campaign for the building. Someone replied saying, "that will be donated by some members".
One Sunday morning, I decided to skip church service because I was not only frustrated but I was also seeking the Lord for wisdom. I prayed all morning and by noon, I started to read His word and the first passage that spoke to me was taken from Acts 17:2-7. Our agenda should not focus on the what's, how's, or why's of the church but rather on Jesus. We serve because of our love for Christ. Our guide is the Bible. The black and white of the church is clearly interpreted in the Bible. In Christ, there are no "gray" areas. Paul was one who understood this well and focused his life on preaching the word and convicting the churches to exercise Christ in their lives. That should be the role of every believer. We should not seek perfection in the system and structure of our church.
For there is no perfect church, for only Christ is perfect!
Thought provoking Pauline. Having been involved in a a church that sounds very similar (in fact, almost identical) to the one you belong to, I could relate very much to what you wrote. We chose to leave in April last year. Finally, my Dad had some very good advice. He said that if we were as troubled as we were by the things we were seeing, then it was hypocrisy to stay. That was the lever God used to finally get us out. Our biggest fear was that every other church would be the same - but praise the Lord, He led us straight to a very family oriented, loving little congregation where we felt immediately at home. Is it perfect? Nope, not while we're in it. Was our last church perfect? Nope, for the same reason. But as you said, Christ is perfect and we need to keep our eyes on Him and His leading. With love, Deb