I have a creepy meter.
It alerts me when the level of creepy in any given situation elevates to concerning or dangerous levels so that I can act accordingly.
I had to use it in church once.
My search for a new church had led me to the front door of a beautiful building in downtown Minneapolis-my home away from home. I had been attending North Central University for a few months and despite my determination to find a church, I was coming up empty handed.
Let the record show that outside of the building, ankle deep in snow, my creepy meter was at a calm and content 0.
I walked through the front door of the building and was greeted by a grey haired man in suspenders. He welcomed me and led me down to the lower level (fancy talk for basement).
Creepy Meter =1
This wasn’t just any basement.
As I followed the gentlemen to the bottom of the stairs and turned a corner I slowly stepped into a dim cold basement lit only by candles and one spotlight.
Unusual, but I was willing to overlook it.
Creepy Meter = 4
I immediately found myself trapped in a conversation with a woman who asked too many personal questions and a man who smiled unnaturally large and constantly looked over his shoulder.
Creepy Meter = 6
Praise and worship began and every one started to sing.
I concluded that I had judged to quickly and began to sing along.
At the end of the songs, a man who I assumed was the pastor grabbed the microphone and the lights dimmed to an impossibly low level.
Creepy Meter = 7
He asked for any new visitors to come to the front to join them in communion.
Creepy Meter = 8
He then quoted something that was not from the Bible and asked us all to drink some juice from the same cup to celebrate being a part of their church.
I politely said, “My mom told me never to take juice in small cups from strangers”
Creepy Meter = 20
I was gone before they could say amen.
Now, the reason I put myself in that situation, contemplating whether or not I could outrun the man in suspenders (I totally could), was because I could not give up my search for THE church.
What I didn’t know at the time was that weeks before I stepped foot in that basement I had already visited what would be my church home for that season in life. But instead of resting, I kept looking.
I had to find the PERFECT Church
I have heard so many people say, “I just haven’t found the right church yet.”
That is understandable.
The creepy basement church was not the “right” church for me.
It is important to find somewhere where the teaching is sound, God is active, and no one offers you strange juice.
But I’ve also heard many people say, “I’m still looking for the perfect church to attend.”
SPOILER ALERT: There is no such thing as a perfect church.
You can search high and low, in every style, in every state, and you will never find a perfect church.
I choose to be a pastor, a member, a volunteer, a supporter and a lover of a wildly imperfect church body.
1. It isn’t about me.
And it isn’t about you either.
When we gather together as believers we must first have a HE mindset.
“I want to set my eyes on the Father and worship Him. HE gets the glory.”
Then we can have a WE mindset.
“I want to see my brother and sisters in Christ growing in their walk. WE are here so we can encourage and pray for each other.”
Problems arise when we adopt the ME mindset in relation to church.
“How can the pastor help ME? What can I get from this service? I can’t believe she said that to ME.”
If church becomes nothing but an avenue for you to fulfill a deed or have a need met, you are missing the purpose all together.
Church isn’t about you. It isn’t about me. It’s all about Him and what He wants to do in us.
2. It isn’t about a building.
Church isn’t about you. And it isn’t about me.
The reason for that is this – WE ARE THE CHURCH.
The church is not a building or a meeting.
The church is not a program or a pastor.
The church is the living and active move of God through you and me to accomplish His mission on this earth.
Once you realize that you are supposed to be the church you will start to care less and less abut the building where you meet or the comfort of your seat.
It isn’t about the building.
3. It isn’t about perfection.
Our God is perfect and until we meet Him in Heaven, what we experience on this earth is just a shadow of perfection.
I couldn’t find a perfect church because it doesn’t exist.
But even if I could find one now, I wouldn’t want it.
I don’t want to be part of a perfect congregation full of perfect people.
1. Because I’m not perfect.
2. Because outside of Jesus, everything God has done has been through imperfect people.
God has never used a perfect person to accomplish His will.
God has never used a perfect church to advance His kingdom.
I believe that when it is our imperfection that binds us in reliance to God.
Look at what Paul writes.
In 2 Corinthians 12 God tells him,
“My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in your weakness.”
Paul then writes in response,
“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
God basically tells Him that when He depends on Him (weakness and all) God’s power is shown perfect and full.
Our weaknesses and our imperfections increase our dependence on Him.
God’s PERFECTION is shown full in our imperfection.
Let’s stop trying to be perfect people and start trying to be dependent people.
Let’s stop trying to build perfect churches and start building lives that point to our perfect King.
We are all just imperfect people,
in an imperfect world,
loved by a flawless God
and saved by perfect grace.