The Church is Messy, but . . .

The church is messy. We’re often unsafe for the hurting, unkind to those who don’t see the world the way we do, and unlike Jesus in how we relate to people.

church is messy

The church is messy, isn’t it? When I look around, I see that we’re often unsafe for the hurting, unkind to those who don’t see the world the way we do, and unlike Jesus in how we relate to people.

We often tack our nationalism, patriotism, racism, classism, favoritism, or our preferred political-economic model such as socialism or capitalism onto our faith and find ways for the Bible to support our views.

We fear the others, the outsiders, and the unfamiliar. We reject science and go to war against educators, researchers, climate scientists, and healthcare experts.

We eat our own. When faith leaders fail publicly, we either pounce with “I told you so’s” or we give them more power and influence without moving through real repentance.

We often overpromise and underdeliver on solutions for human needs like connection, significance, and belonging. At times we even confuse materialistic prosperity with divine blessing while ignoring the poor and marginalized.

We become dogmatic about secondary, non-essential issues and we splinter, split, and scatter. We institutionalize what should be organic and over-spiritualize what should come more naturally to us.

And I say “we” because I’m part of the problem. I’ve been guilty of many of the things I’ve mentioned and I’m very likely still guilty of some things that remain hidden in the shadows and blind spots of my heart.

But Jesus isn’t his church. And I’m here for Jesus.

He had this crazy notion that he could gather a bunch of misfits and broken selfish people and turn their lives upside down with such grace that they, in turn, would share the good news about him with others and turn the world upside down.

Jesus had this radical dream that the church could touch and change and affect communities for good, be a voice for both moral conviction and empathy and compassion.

Jesus invites us to come and to see what he is all about, what he stood for, whom he died for, and what he’s doing in the world today as the living King of a new kind of kingdom.

He invites us to die to ourselves, to lay down our selfish ambition and our traditional understanding of power structures to adopt a whole new way of thinking and a whole new way of life.

And this new life is the way of Love. It’s worship and serving and growing and leading and leaning into him and each other and finding the next lost, hurting, broken sinner and wrapping our arms around them to include them in God’s family.

So I can’t give up on the church. The church is messy, but she’s His idea. Jesus died for her, was raised for her, and commissioned her to be light in the darkness and love to the lost until he comes back to fix it all.

Ready to get messy? You’ll never know how greatly God wants to use you in this world until you’re willing to move toward the messes.

 

The Church is Messy originally appeared here, and is used by permission.

Brandon Cox
Brandon Cox is Lead Pastor of Grace Hills Church, a new church plant in northwest Arkansas. He also serves as Editor and Community Facilitator for Pastors.com and Rick Warren's Pastor's Toolbox and was formerly a Pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. In his spare time, he offers consultation to church leaders about communication, branding, and social media. He and his wife, Angie, live with their two awesome kids in Bentonville, Arkansas.