I have heard it said that when it comes to reaching the world and making disciples, God has no plan B. The church is God’s plan for declaring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations. The New Testament teaches that the church is both local and universal, visible and invisible. We can often get so caught up in the ministry of our own local church that we forget we are part of God’s universal church. My local church is but one tiny part of God’s greater church! As a pastor, not only am I privileged to be a part of the church, but He has also called me to shepherd His flock.
I love my church, and let me tell you why.
To begin with, Jesus Himself is building it. He has promised to build His church, the dwelling place of His Spirit. The church is more than just an organization with systems and structures. The church is the temple of the living God. The church is a people in whom the Holy Spirit dwells. She is a worshiping community of believers who bring glory to Christ. The local church that I am a part of is not perfect by any stretch, but she is special because she is the dwelling place of God. Jesus builds His church through the simple proclamation of His gospel. The responsibility of making disciples is ours, and the job of building the church is His.
Second, I love the church because she is the most precious thing on earth to God. The church is the bride of Christ, having been purchased with His life blood. 1 Corinthians 6:20 says, “You have been bought with a price.” The church is so precious that the Son of God was willing to suffer the pain and agony of the cross in obedience to the Father. He became poor so that we might be made rich. This tells me that though the church is not perfect, she is very special indeed.
Next, I love my church because it reminds me that I am a part of something that is much bigger than me. To belong to the church is to be involved in God’s eternal plan and purposes. Those who have been saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ have been given a special calling, and have been brought together and adopted into the family of God. We were in the mind of God before time began! Our society promotes individualism and personal autonomy to such a degree that self is elevated above others. The church is designed to function in the opposite way, promoting others before self.
Last, I love my church because it gives me a glimpse of heaven on earth. Think of it as a dress rehearsal for the rest of eternity. This may be hard for us to do when we consider all the imperfections of the church, both of her people and her leaders. Yet we must not forget that Jesus is washing His church through the water of His Word, and He Himself is ironing out all the wrinkles. The local church is the place where we learn to love God’s Word and God’s people. Rather than making it all about myself, I am to make it all about Jesus and other people. This goes against the way we normally approach the church, asking the question, “What can my church offer me?” Perhaps we should ask ourselves the question, “What can I offer my church?” Here’s a start–Find someone and somewhere to serve. Pray often for your pastor. Invite others to come. Thank God for your church, for she is very special.