For those who are not part of the church, the problem they have with the church is really with what they perceive to be the historical institutional church.
You know the church...
- that gathers every Sunday to sing about Jesus and God, but who go out spewing hatred and bigotry
- that talks a good talk about peace and changing the world while doing nothing outside their walls to improve anything in society
- that preaches that God loves the world but still supported the institution of slavery and the Jim Crow laws in the South
- that continues to pour its money in building bigger monuments to itself while neglecting the poor, the lonely, the neglected in society
- that is filled with people who pray "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" all the while seem to be living for bigger paychecks and the newest toys.
I have a confession to make. I hate that church too!
And the good news for all of us is that that's not the church of Jesus Christ.
The mission and the purpose of the church of Jesus Christ is to reconcile the world to himself. The church is supposed to embrace the redemptive mission of Jesus Christ, to transform this world into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, to be the body of Christ that enfolds all his children into his fold.
Richard Stearns says, "When the church imitates the words and deeds of Jesus it echoes the Kingdom yet to come and holds out hope to a hurting world."
That's the church I love.
That's the church we are doing our best to become.
Will you join me in being this church?