The sanctuary was packed. Almost standing room only. It had been awhile since I’d sat in any church. We’re not members anywhere. My family and I mostly meet in homes with others but we still find ourselves within the traditional four walls from time to time. Sometimes led by God and sometimes just our own desire.
So, I sat between two people I didn’t know listening to the word being preached trying not to let my mind wander (and failing). As I looked around the room one thought repeatedly ran through my brain, the church has problems.
My family and I should know. It was six years ago that I stiffly sat in a room as the board told me not to come back to the church we’d been regularly attending. Like many others we were shocked, not so much that one could actually get booted from a church but more so that people would boot a family from a church.
That’s not where the story ends. Forgiveness and healing took some time but our hearts were mended. Meeting in homes over the last six years has been an incredible blessing filled with maturity/growth, testimonies, and encounters that would fill multiple books I’m sure. And I’m not just referring to my own personal experiences but those from all involved in each meeting.
All of this led me to where I sat on this particular Sunday morning. See, it wasn’t just any church I was in. It was the same church that told me to leave six years before. And the man at the podium was one I’d been miraculously reconciled too, previously a strong voice behind my departure.
So, there was certainly some history behind my assertion, the church has problems.
We should never be a people satisfied by deconstruction. Anyone can see the bad. Anyone can break down, tear down, and leave rubble in their wake. Anyone can let the bitter linger in his/her mouth from church-related pain. But it takes something different to build. It takes the heart of Father, the love reflected in Christ to see the blueprints for life.
As I looked around the sanctuary my thoughts didn’t end with problems. Yes, the church has problems. But people are coming to know the love of Father. The church has problems but many are being healed (physically and emotionally) within its traditional system and four walls. It has problems but marriages are being saved. Encouragement flows, spiritual gifts are in operation, joy abounds, peace is instilled, and wisdom is being released all within a system that has problems.
There are real people filled with the mighty love of God within a place many have written off because they’ve been burned.
Now, this isn’t about increasing church attendance. I don’t see myself becoming a member anywhere anytime soon (or even attending regularly). This is about changing the lens through which we view the world. This is about searching for beauty instead of stomping on ashes. It’s about removing the scales of offense and bitterness and puttin on dem Love Glasses (Shae/Shoc shout out!).
Jesse and Kara Birkey
Jesse and Kara Birkey are committed lovers of Jesus who seek to show others the extraordinary life of Jesus is available for everyone. They have authored two books, been featured in films and seek to serve the Lord in whatever ways they can. Follow their blog here.
Bring Jesse and Kara to your venue. Find more information here.
Life Resurrected, Extraordinary Miracles through Ordinary People has been endorsed by Sid Roth and Mark Virkler and is a collection of inspiring stories making it clear that the extraordinary life of Jesus is available to all who love Him. It’s also the testimony of Jesse’s life, the road he travelled bringing him into the arms of Jesus. Get the paperback here. Get the Kindle Version Here. View the trailer here.
Marriage What’s the Point? One couple finds meaning in a crazy mess is the story of their marriage—The tragedy and the restoration. They bear their hearts in an attempt to get others to bear theirs and finally receive the freedom they’ve longed for. Get the paperback here. Get the Kindle Version Here.