Cynics of the church, both young and old, want to know why they should come to our meetings and why they should give their money to the church. Both are valid questions and we must be able to answer them. If we were truthful, most of us attend church and give our money because of tradition, ritual or to ease our guilt or shame. These are lousy reasons for sure so I think it is time to re-evaluate our answers.
Why should I come to your meetings?
Church in its purest form is a gathering of Christ followers where right doctrine is taught and the sacraments are rightly administered. The Greek word for church is ekklesia – which means “a meeting of the called out ones.” Jesus is the head of this meeting and Jesus should be the main focus. There should be recognized leaders at the meeting who are responsible for the welfare of the people and who are responsible for what is taught and how the sacraments are administered. These meetings are meant to strengthen the people with sound teaching, worship God through the sacraments and for each of us to come alongside each other for encouragement. While the church has become corrupt at times and leaders have misbehaved, church is still important to Jesus. Church is His bride and only those who love the bride will be allowed to participate in her healing and her redemption. Cynics need not apply.
I have been hurt by church, but I have also been strengthened and matured by church. So, I choose to love the bride and help the bride get healthy instead of walking away from her in her time of greatest need. If we love Jesus, we must love the church because He still does. We cannot say “yes” to Jesus and “no” to church. The two are forever connected and to forsake one is to forsake the other.
Why should I give my money to the church?
The church in America has done a great deal to tarnish the pure idea of church. We have reduced church to steeples and buildings while ignoring the urgent needs of our cities. Pastors have used church to fund their lavish lifestyles and to sell their products instead of using the resources to meet the needs of people. Church was supposed to be a fellowship. The Greek word for fellowship is koinonia which is a covenantal word that means everyone’s resources are available to meet any need among the people. If our neighbor has a need we can meet, we meet the need. If someone is without a home, they can stay in ours. If someone does not have food, we share our food. If someone needs clothes, we give them some of ours. Simply put, we believe we are blessed by God to be a blessing to others. When church is really working well, there are no needs among the people and the needs of the city are being met with the surplus.
My prayer is that cynics of the church or those who have been hurt by the church would come to New Life and discover a tribe of people who are living in ekklesia and koinonia. Let’s be a church where our love for one another is proof to the world we are His disciples. I am falling in love with the bride again and I hope you are as well.