Many of you know that my family will be moving in a few days. We are excited about this move for our family, but there is also some sadness. Along with my family, we will also be leaving our much-loved church family behind. This past Sunday was our last Sunday at our current church. There was so much I wanted to say, but I just couldn’t find the words.
Let me just say that church bodies are made up of sinful people. That’s just the way it is. I’ve seen churches that are weighed down by church politics, gossip, and drama. I’ve seen churches that care more about a person’s income than their heart. I’ve been involved in a situation that hurt me so deeply it shook my faith, leaving me with wounds that are only now beginning to heal several years later.
But, thanks to my current church, I have had the privilege to see the kind of church that displays what it means to be a church family.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13 that love is the most important thing. Tongues of men and angels become as a clanging symbol without it. The gift of prophecy, knowledge, and faith are nothing without love. All charity, good deeds, and sacrifice are nothing without love.
I don’t care how grand the church, how eloquent the pastor, or how beautiful (or modern) the music…if the congregation isn’t filled with loving people, then it’s all for nothing. I have been blessed over the past 6 years to be a part of an amazing church family. When I first visited there, I could feel the presence of God and the love pouring out from the people there. God is love, and if His love resides in a church family, so does He.
Here is an in-depth article about the Biblical role of pastor (shepherd) in church. But, suffice it to say that it’s a position with great responsibility, and the only way it can be truly fulfilled is if the pastor is submitting to God’s leadership in his own life. My pastor recognizes that we don’t come to church to hear what he thinks about something, but rather what God says. Three years ago, I had an incisional hernia. I called my pastor to pray for my surgery and he said, “I’ve prayed about it, and the Lord showed me that He was going to heal your hernia without surgery.” (Click the link for the full story). God’s word says, “When the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the Lord hath truly sent him.” (Jeremiah 28:9). My pastor has proven time and again that he seeks God. Is he perfect? No more so than any other flawed man. But he seeks after God, and hears (listens to) his voice. Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account…” This is serious, and I want to entrust someone who is seeking after God above all else.
There are so many things a church should be and do, but just as Jesus summed up the commandments in only 2 (love God and love people), I believe that these two things can sum up the others. If a church is truly loving and seeking after God’s will, then other things should fall into place.
I’m thankful that God brought our family to Green Pastures. I know that they will continue on worshipping in His presence each service, and I will greatly miss them.
At the same time, I’m excited to see what God has in store for us. Please pray for us to find a church family that desires to seek after and serve the Lord, where we can grow in Him and His love!
What do you love most about your current church? What do you think makes a good church?