I’ll admit it, I’ve been frustrated with the Church lately.
For a long time, really, but especially this past year. At a time when we should have been shining our brightest and offering hope to a world in crises, we showed our worst. We argued publicly about who’s right and who’s wrong. We strained out gnats while swallowing camels. We took sides rather than taking action. We yelled when we should have been quiet, and were silent when we should have been shouting from the rooftops. We majored in the minors and many tried desperately to cling to their personal plans and passions rather than embrace the kairos moment of heaven.
The world is paying a price for both our misappropriated zeal and our complacent consent to mob rule.
Of course, this doesn’t apply universally. Although it has been a difficult year for the Church—especially for pastors who literally couldn’t please anyone no matter what they did—some individuals, as well as various small groups and churches, have shined despite the difficulty. But Jesus only has one Church which means our collective lack of love and unity is still everyone’s problem.
Our failures are rarely intentional. I think anyone who is authentically connected to Jesus wants to honor Him, but we’ve all got our biases and blindspots. Learning that we do is part of our maturing process. I don’t mind if you disagree with me, but I do mind when I no longer have a right to follow Jesus as He’s leading me. Truth itself is simple and clear, but the application of truth in a variety of situations on this fallen planet is often nuanced and complex. None of us always gets it right.
I KNOW there are sincere followers of Jesus who think very differently than me—that’s good! What isn’t good is when popular opinion tries to drown out, silence, or shame anyone in opposition. When we think our opinion is the only possible “right” opinion and anyone who disagrees is dishonoring God, we’ve left connection with Jesus and taken a hard turn into religion. Religion always espouses a form of godliness while denying its power. If we have a greater fear of man … or of a disease … or of cancel culture … or of anyone who thinks differently … than we fear God, then collectively we have a problem.
Church, we DO have a problem.
But, fortunately, we also have a solution.
Recently, I heard the song, Build Your Church, by Maverick City Music and Elevation Worship (link below). As I listened, I unexpectedly started sobbing. And interceding. And decreeing …
It is HIS Church.
It was and IS His idea.
He started it, He will finish it.
He WILL build His church …
And the gates of hell will NOT prevail against it.
But that’s the key—He will build HIS Church. Not your church. Not my church. Not the institution that is being rigorously shaken. But the true Ecclesia. The living organism that is HIS Body on the earth.
Jesus loves His Church. So do I. That’s why this matters so much to me. As someone who has never fit well within the construct of the western church, sadly, I have often seen the Church at its worst. But I’ve also seen glimpses of glory and signs of hope. There IS a remnant whose voice is getting stronger, louder, bolder, and purer than ever before. Heaven has taken note. A shift is already taking place with more to come.
So I’m shaking off my frustration. I’m realigning my heart with His. I’m looking up and I’m trusting His Word. We have a long way to go, but He’s already secured the victory. I keep thinking of a line from an old Vineyard song, Let Your Glory Fall:
Ruler of the nations
The world has yet to see
The full release of your promise
The church in victory
It’s true—the world hasn’t yet seen the Church in victory. But it will. It will because …
Jesus IS building His Church.
And the gates of hell will not prevail against it.