Charles Spurgeon once said, “The day we find the perfect church, it becomes imperfect the moment we join it.” The church is that peculiar institution where wretched sinners receive grace. Jesus told Peter He was the rock on which He would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it (Matt. 16:18). The Apostle Paul told us the church is a body in which all the parts fit together (1 Cor. 12:12). But anyone who has spent some time in church knows that fitting those parts together can create friction. We come from different backgrounds. We have different opinions—often on things that don’t really matter. We sometimes judge unbelievers like they are the enemy when they are the very people we’re trying to reach. The church is messy and we have a big mission. So how do we work together to make the church what Jesus intended it to be?
A lot of the issues we face in church can be solved simply by improving communication. Here are a few quick tips to get along better with your spiritual siblings:
Listen to one another. Take the time to hear what the other person is actually saying instead of what you think they’re saying. Reflect on what they’ve said and clarify anything you’re unsure of. Stop the miscommunication before it starts.
Get ALL the facts and stop the gossip. Did you hear it from a friend of a friend of an acquaintance who is really just a busybody? Maybe that’s not a reliable source of information. While we do have a responsibility to help our Christian brothers and sisters stay on the right path, too often we make judgments about people long before we have any real information. Let’s be slower to judge.
Remember that people in your church often come from different backgrounds. If you’re with a former alcoholic, maybe you should forego having a beer in order to keep your brother from stumbling. You don’t really need to give your BFF the stink eye when she’s wearing jeans to church (You only wear skirts!). Is it a salvation issue? Then keep your stink eye under wraps. Let’s extend to others the grace Jesus extended to us.
There is so much to be excited about in the church—vibrant worship, victory through recovery groups, strong theological preaching, powerful prayer services, and multiplied disciples! But maybe there’s an aspect of church that’s been difficult for you to love. Maybe someone has hurt you. Don’t give up on the church! Jesus loves the church, and He ordained it to be His body on earth to accomplish the tasks He entrusted to us. Check out our articles on church life. Maybe something there will help you fall in love with the church all over again.