We’ve heard a lot of talk of becoming a more positive and hopeful people of Christ. It’s not an easy change to make. It’s something I struggle with, and I know others struggle with it as well, but there is a purpose behind being more positive and hopeful, particularly where it concerns the church.
We have to love our church. Why would anyone want to come to our services or be a part of this community if we ourselves can’t even speak about it in a positive manner? If we can’t say off the tip of our tongues why we love this church and this congregation?
Simple: they wouldn’t.
We want to grow; we want to bring more people into a relationship with Jesus. That’s something I’ve heard since I was interviewing here, and it’s typically a desire of just about any congregation. Yet, we still struggle to be a positive and hopeful community that strives to be better Christians. As I’ve been reading these past few months, it’s come to my attention that a lot of us don’t show our love for our church.
Read what Kevin G. Harney says,
I learned a valuable lesson from R. A. Torrey’s classic book The Power of Prayer and the Prayer of Power: pray more, criticize less. Torrey calls Christians to be honest about the frailties they see in the church but then to pray about them: ‘If you don’t like your pastor’s sermons, pray until his sermons become great.’ Criticism is easy to give, but prayer takes time and energy. Commit to pray more and to offer godly critique with a gentle heart. Before you unleash your next volley of insights on what is wrong with the church, get on your knees, cry out to the Lord of the church, and pray for eyes to see his bride the way he does. This might help shape your words and soften your tone.
In other words, it’s okay to be critical so long as you do it in love and in kindness. This church has been created as the companion of Christ, this church is God’s church. To be critical of it is to be critical of God’s people and of God. We are to love this church, through faults and failures. It’s not perfect; it’s made up of people. And we all know people are not perfect.
But we are of God and for God, and that is something to be proud of and to love unconditionally.