I met a couple last week (who will remain unnamed) that told me they visited Awaken once a few months back. They said that when they visit a church, each family member brings their own score card and they rank the sermon, the worship, the people, the atmosphere, etc. Apparently we didn’t make the grade, since they don’t go to Awaken. Ironically, they don’t attend church anywhere. Why not? Because they haven’t been able to find the perfect church. Odd. Neither have I.
That’s a common problem in our church-shopping culture. Many people show up to get their needs met, but are disappointed and end up leaving when someone lets them down or their needs aren’t met.
Why every church you visit is imperfect…
1) Sinners are there.
Every church (not to mention every building, home, store, restaurant – whether it’s Christian-owned or not) contains humans, who sin. Sin is messy and causes problems. Sin isn’t found in the building itself, it is found inside the people who meet in the building.
But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing!
At Awaken, we want to see people in all stages of life walk through our doors and join our Awaken Groups. In fact, if the church you find yourself at is a good, Gospel-preaching church, there will be lots of sinners. There will be people who are in all stages of sin: still in it, just coming out of it, growing in their faith, and those walking with the Christ for years or decades. At Awaken, periodically, we have what we call “New Believer Problems.” We once had to tell our Greeters that they can’t smoke at the front door when they’re welcoming people. I love that. It reminds me that we’re reaching the people we want to be reaching.
2) You’re there.
If, by some miraculous chance, you found the perfect church, the moment you walked in the door, you ruined it! If you found a “perfect” church, get out of there so you don’t ruin their perfection!
The reality is that although we often point the finger at others for causing the problems at church, we have trouble we bring to the table as well. It’s a good thing God is so gracious!
Why the search for a good church is so important…
The end goal of Christianity is to produce fruit and growth in your life (Mark 4:20, Galatians 5:22-23). That’s the goal, but let’s trace the process back to the start…
Good, healthy fruit is only produced by good, healthy trees. Healthy trees are only healthy because they have a good root system. And roots only grow over time once the seed has been planted.
So here’s our answer: finding a good church is important so you can be planted in the house of The Lord (Psalm 92), which will strengthen your spiritual and social roots, which produce healthy growth and a healthy harvest in your life.
A lack of fruit is probably a lack of roots in your life.
Roots lead to fruits. It’s pretty simple, really.
The most important characteristic of a good church is that the Bible is being taught. If the Word of God is being sown, you can trust that it will do as God intends for it to do. It will not return void (Isaiah 55).
Is there a perfect church? Not till heaven.
Should you settle for an imperfect church? If they’re preaching the Gospel, yes! Get rooted so you can grow fruit!