I was reminded again recently of the fickle love that many have for the church. Many people in our culture, today, changes churches like they change favorite restaurants. One will stop serving a favorite menu item and they move on. Or maybe a commercial for another restaurant displays something more desirable and off they go. It’s really not a big deal when we are talking about restaurants, but when we are talking about the church of the living God it should be something much deeper and more real. We should fall in love with our church because Christ died for it. We should fall in love with our church because it is the chosen method of Christ bringing about His Kingdom. We should fall in love with the church because it is filled with people just like us: each of us guilty of our sinfulness yet loved and redeemed by the one and only Savior. If you are finding it hard to fall in love with your church, here are a few suggestions that just might hep:
- Invest yourself in a ministry – Everybody needs a purpose. People who come to worship services without finding a ministry to belong to rarely stick around long. On top of that, it is part of the call of every believer. We are called to make a difference. We are called to serve others. It helps us get our eyes off ourselves and put them on those whom God sees. If you want to fall in love with your church, serve the people in and around it.
- Make real relationships with God’s people – Fellowship is a highly important part of the Christian experience. Human interaction in our culture is becoming harder to find. We interact through social media and we would often rather buy online than brave a shopping trip. Nonetheless, we crave friendship and community. The church is the ultimate expression of this community as we are equal before our savior and drawn together as one by His love. If you want to fall in love with your church, fall in love with its people.
- Worship with abandon – True worship is turning our hearts and minds towards God and His perfect salvation through Jesus Christ. It is the emotional expression of the truths that we know about God. When we worship we acknowledge that the greatest act of human love and devotion was done by Jesus on the cross. Through that action you are forgiven and given the hope of eternal life. If that doesn’t move you, you don’t understand it. Let the truth of God’s love through the gospel move you to worship him without fear. If you want to fall in love with the church, worship with abandon
- Be a faucet, not a drain – People generally fall in to one of these two categories. They are either faucets or drains. Drains let the water flow out. Often people will come to church for what they can get out of it. In the worst of cases they can leave people and congregations depleted of energy and love due to the drama and disunity they bring. On the other hand, faucets give water. They replenish other people and the organization. That is our call in the church. We are to help others find life in Christ and help them to grow in their walk with Christ. If you want to fall in love with your church, be a faucet, not a drain.
- Be encouraged by being an encourager – This one is closely linked to the previous statement, but it has more to do with our attitudes than our actions. There are people who inherently look for the good in others and in their church. There are others who seem to see all of the difficulty and the bad. The truth is, whichever you are looking for, you will find plenty. If you want to see the hypocrisy and ugliness of church, somewhere amongst the sinfulness of all our members it is there to be found. At the same time, the Holy Spirit is alive and well in the church. He is still creating redemption stories in the lives of our members. He is still moving us to great acts of service. Look for the good and be encouraged by what God does, even in the midst of all the bad we can often do. If you want to fall in love with your church be an encourager.
- Be the Church everywhere you go – Too many people do their religious duty on Sunday and then forget about it the rest of the week. The greatest joy in the church is that it is where we find salvation and where God makes us in to a new creation. Let Sunday be your day to recharge and be reminded about God’s goodness through our worship. On Monday, go out and apply what you learned. Begin to live out the Christian life in a way that is real. Let it change you. If you want to fall in love with your church let it change you all week long.
- Fall in love with Jesus – Jesus is the Author and finisher of our faith. He is the one who first loved us. He is the reason for everything that we do in the church. He is worthy of our deepest love and affections. See to love him more. Meditate on His goodness and love. Read His word so that you know him more deeply. Spend time with Him in prayer. Foster and real relationship with Christ that is based in love. When you love Jesus you will love His body, the church and you will find it a privilege to be a part of. If you want to fall in love with your church, fall in love with Jesus.