Has anyone ever started a conversation with you, with a loaded question like this? “You know what’s wrong with this church?”
It doesn’t take a tremendous amount of skill to take note of the things which could be better. Amazingly, most of us have an innate ability to sense the negative. And if we spend too much time focusing on the negatives, they will soon appear to outweigh the positives.
There’s always something about the local church that will be in need of improvement. However, massive changes are rarely the answer. In most cases, a confident and consistent flow of tweaks and adjustments are the best solution.
The need for adjusting what’s wrong is not as big a deal as you first thought. Why is that? It’s because most of what you first notice and complain about is rarely a matter of theology. Many of the negatives are matters of personal opinion and preference.
These are some of the negatives about which others might complain. But, not you, because you’re too wise to act like a negative Nellie.
It’s too cold here.
The music is too loud!
The sanctuary is too dark.
Where did they find this music!?
Every time I go, they ask me for money.
I can’t believe the way they dressed for church!
There’s just too many hypocrites in this crazy church!
I’ll stop with the list and move on to better words. Besides, you are likely already mentally expanding the negative file. Your energy is best spent focusing on the positives instead of the negatives of your local church.
Wisdom says you should rise to a better question. What’s right about your church? Take an extended look and come up with a list of the things that are right with your church.
Most Bible-believing, Protestant congregations that I’m aware of and fellowship with have many right things. Let me share with you a short list of Bible items that your church has likely gotten right.
The foundation of this church is right. It’s founded and built by Jesus Christ, the Chief Church Builder. He is the Chief Cornerstone, and your congregation is formed with members who have placed their faith in Him.
The function of this church is right. Its primary purpose is Great Commission fulfillment. Reaching unbelievers with the Gospel. Teaching them the Bible. And training them for service to the Lord. This is what the majority of your congregation has the heart to do.
The family of this church is right. The local church is a family of believers which is a part of the Kingdom of God at large. As a family, we stay right with God and with each other. We practice the same forgiveness with each other that Christ consistently provides us. It’s who we are. It’s what we do.
The future of this church is right. It might seem like your church has a very bleak future, on the earthly timeline. But the future of the family of God is as bright as eternity. Eternal life in Heaven is a future so bright that your church ought to wear shades (sunglasses).
You might ask me this. Are you opposed to pointing out the negatives and making some changes as needed? Absolutely not!
However, let me suggest a few parameters before we form a negative highlighting committee to report to the church leadership. First, have you prayed about this and for your church leaders? Is it really worth the effort it would take to complain? Secondly, are you the only person that thinks this is wrong? Thirdly, are you willing to help be a part of the solution that you’re suggesting? Fourthly, if after you’ve cited the issue, will you be able to accept it if nothing changes or progress moves at a snail’s pace? Lastly, are you fiscally committed to the local church and willing to help cover the expenses of the adjustments needed?
Let’s return to the negatives for a moment. Recall what happens in the darkroom. Long before digital photography arrived, it took a darkroom for images to fully develop into a work of beauty.
Before you become a vocal advocate for fixing every negative in your local church, I suggest you return to your darkroom. What happens in your dark room, also known as your prayer closet, is of the utmost importance. There, is where I expect that you will find something beautiful. Down on your knees is when you’re in reach for something (or Someone) beautiful to touch you.
What’s right with your church? Comment and tell me the best things about your local church.