The Preacher's Hub: DO YOU LOVE THE CHURCH?

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So, I hear you want to be involved in church ministry. Maybe you have even entertained the thought of full time ministry. Here is a question for you: Do you love the church? Do not be quick to answer. The question is much deeper and more serious than you could ever imagine.

Many people love the idea of church. We seem to have all sorts of views of what church should be like. We all have our own ecclesiology (theology as applied to the nature and structure of the Christian Church). 

For example, a lot of people love the idea of being married. They are quite innocent to the fact that marriage is harder than they think. You cannot love the idea of being married without facing the reality of hard work and commitment.So, let me ask you again: Do you love the church or just the idea of church? 

In the context of marriage, Paul mentions one of the most amazing and often hidden truths: “For husband, this means love your wives just as Christ loved the church. He gave his life for her.” (Ephesians 5:25)

This is powerful. Jesus loves you and it’s not because you are amazing, nice and always polite. Jesus loves you and it’s not because you always do what He says. Jesus loves you because He decides to love you, in spite of all that you are and are not.

Jesus loves the church. This is a fact. He does not love the church because the church is already clean and amazing, obedient, encouraging and always doing what is right. Jesus loves the church. Period! And he showed it by dying on the cross for her. This is the ultimate example on how we should love our spouses.

Maybe you are thinking about Bible college, ministry training, preaching or getting involved is some sort of church activity. I want to be blunt and honest without being cruel: if you love the idea of church but not the church; as she is, with all her flaws and wrinkles, you’d better think twice. Ministry will drain you. Ministry will challenge your marriage, family and health. And if you do not love the church you will soon get hurt, give up, or end up shipwrecking your faith. 

Loving the church must have a purpose. Because love has a purpose. In Ephesians 5 Paul goes on to say: “He did this to present her as a glorious bride without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead she will be Holy and without fault.”

I do not know what you’re idea of church is. But here is a reality check. If you cannot be bothered with other people’s “spots, wrinkles and blemishes” or they put you off, frustrate you and cause you to avoid meeting with them, then you do not love the church. Maybe you’ve fallen in love with the idea of church being people who are on the same page, all of the time, without any issues, singing in beautiful harmony, loving each other and walking hand in hand with big smiles on their faces.

That’s an amazing picture. However, that is the destination. And we are not there yet. Jesus loved the church, died for her so that one day she may be without spots, wrinkles or blemishes. Do you see what I’m trying to say? Loving the church means working hard so that one day Jesus will present the church perfect. 

So, the question remains: do you love the church? You can love theology and that is amazing. You can love preaching and that is commendable. You can even love worshiping, praising God and singing. All that is still wonderful. But if you want to be effective for the kingdom of God, you must love the church!

Tags: Preaching church love people

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