Five Invitations - Day 23

DAY 23 - The Perfect Church?
1 Corinthians 1:26-31 

Yesterday I encouraged us to embrace messy. “Embrace messy” kills the quest for a perfect church. In the search to belong, we’re tempted to look for the perfect church. We church hop and church shop, consuming religion like a snack. We sample churches like a buffet, taste-testing personalities and programs. We scan the parking lot for bumper stickers of our political party. We avoid deeper relationships made in a Bible study or at a dinner table. We dream of greener grass in a better church. It’s easy in bigger places like Champaign County to never put down roots in one church because we sample everything on the way to the perfect place

“Embrace messy” also welcomes the beautiful diversity of God’s family. There’s an understandable instinct to seek people just like us or who can offer us something. I’ve heard people say too many times in my life, “They’d be great church members!” Translation: “They have something to offer us!” Avoiding people’s messiness while chasing people who can give us something makes a stale church where everyone looks the same. It’s why so many new churches conveniently find God calling them to reach well-off suburbs and so few to low income neighborhoods.

Paul reminds us that God embraces messy, too. God rarely picks what would be obvious by human standards. God didn’t build the Church on Rome’s rich and powerful. God builds with a wonderfully weird variety of messy people.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” according to actor Will Rogers. It’s natural to size people up at first meeting. I’ve met plenty of people I didn’t like at first. But as a pastor, I can’t write people off so quickly. I’m usually glad I gave people time to grow on me. Some of my favorite people now are people I didn’t like at first. I couldn’t see what they had to offer me. I later discover how they’ve blessed me - and others - in unexpected ways. Embrace messy.

How might “embrace messy” encourage you to build a better church right where you are?

Lord Jesus Christ, you are the true foundation of your church. Not personalities, programs, or great music. Use me to build up my church home. Amen.
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