You have heard for years now “The Church” is not a club. The church is a place where God dwells. It’s a holy place. A sacred place. A place where you can encounter God. It’s a safe place. A welcoming place. It’s a place where God’s people gather together for fellowship and worship. A place where hurting people can find comfort, support, and genuine love. The church is God’s house.
Now, you would think this to be the case. After all, Jesus commanded his followers to “Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples–when they see the love you have for each other.” (John 13:34-35)
Jesus prayed for his followers to be united:
“I want all of them to be one with each other, just as I am one with you and you are one with me. I also want them to be one with us. Then the people of this world will believe that you sent me” (John 17:21).
The apostle Paul pleads with the church to live up to Christ’s expectations:
“Now, dear brothers and sisters, I appeal to you by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ to stop arguing among yourselves. Let there be real harmony so there won’t be divisions in the church. I plead with you to be of one mind, united in thought and purpose” (1 Cor. 1:10).
In many churches I have visited, known about, or even been a part of, I have seen just the opposite. I have seen so many arguments among the church people that it disturbs me. I have heard people gossiping, complaining, and spreading rumors, so it’s not surprising that they don’t have time for prayer. I have seen church people get so caught up in the politics of the church that the mission of the church is lost. I have encountered many church people who have been hurt by other church people and as a result they give up on church altogether.
I have seen many good pastors crucified by the very church they were willing to die for. I have also seen church members betrayed and deeply hurt by the leaders they trusted. It’s no wonder why so many people have stopped going to church altogether.
If the world is nothing but one big “dysfunctional” family, why in the world would anyone want to join another dysfunctional family – the church? There is no doubt in my mind that now more than ever many people are desperately searching for answers during our troubling times. Shouldn’t the church have the answer? Shouldn’t the church be a place where everyone can find purpose, meaning, fulfillment and genuine, unconditional love? The answer is a resounding, “yes.”
Now that I have your attention, let me assure you, there are many good churches out there. Many are in our own communities. There are also some churches that aren’t so good. What makes up any church is not the buildings but the people. Good churches are filled with people who demonstrate genuine Christian love united by the blood of Christ. Christian love united by the blood. Maybe, just maybe, we should take another look at club.
By definition it states, “Club: A group of people united in a relationship and having the same interest, activity, or purpose in common.”
If this describes the church, where do I sign up?
Stan R. Florez is pastor of the Club 1 in Bonney Lake.