the shape of leadership

Is It OK That the Church Isn’t Perfect?

Three things to remember about the family of God

Kent Ingle on April 29, 2019

One of the greatest comforts we can take in the Bible is how God used imperfect people to achieve His perfect plan. Peter was a headstrong, stubborn fisherman. Paul was a poor public speaker. Throughout Scripture, we find examples of flawed and broken individuals God used.

When we look at the family of God today, we still see flawed people. And, in many cases, we experience hurt and disappointment in what some may refer to as a flawed church. Most of us, at one time or another, have felt like leaving this dysfunctional family of God. We may feel worn out by gossip, insensitivities, a lack of pastoral care, or just the broken nature of humankind. Thankfully, God realizes we all fall short at times. Scripture says, “Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7:20).

Here are three things to keep in mind when you or someone in your care is feeling conflicted and tempted to leave the flawed church.

In any church, we will interact with broken and flawed people.

Religious ideologies don’t define God’s family. There are many people who leave churches because they disagree on trivial opinions. But there will always be matters that we will never completely agree on. We have to realize God’s kingdom purpose is bigger than our differences. When we position our focus on the beliefs that are the foundation of our faith, we can let go of the minor things and focus on worshipping Jesus as one unified Body.

Differences alone don’t define God’s family. One of the greatest freedoms we can experience is freedom from what other people think. Just because members of a church disagree with you doesn’t mean there is no place for you. One of the beautiful things about the church family is that it grows through diversity. Our differences can make us stronger when we come together in unity. As Paul writes in Romans 12:4–5, “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”

There are many members of the Body, with many differences, strengths and weaknesses. Only together can we fulfill the divine design God has for His body.

Leaders don’t define God’s family. The body of Christ was never meant to revolve around human leaders. It was meant to focus solely on the Head of the Church: Jesus Christ.

At one point during his ministry, George Whitefield was hard pressed by his supporters to assume leadership of the Methodist movement. His friends earnestly tried to get him to think about the legacy he would leave behind. Whitefield responded that his ministry wasn’t about him or his legacy. It was about one Person: Christ.

As part of the family of God, our central focus should always remain on Christ. Knowing Him and pointing others to Him are the primary missions of the Church. When we focus on Jesus, we will be united.

In any church, we will interact with broken and flawed people. There may even be seasons when the Spirit leads us to move to a different local church. But this must never distract us from the power, vision and calling Christ has for His bride. Remember that God still uses imperfect people to accomplish His perfect plan.

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