To live within—and to love—God’s church requires an experience with God and his amazing grace. It also requires a solid biblical understanding of the church. It calls those within the church to make the intentional decision to forgive and love people who are often less than loveable. It demands faithfulness and commitment to God and to his people.

The Christian life isn’t meant to be lived with a beat-up Gibson guitar tossed over your shoulder, and with a tattered leather-bound Bible in one hand and a Clif Bar in the other as you rest on a mountaintop somewhere in the Rockies. Christ’s followers, made in God’s image, are created for community with each other.

Rich, authentic, life-enriching, heart-shaping relationships are formed and nurtured within the community of faith—not outside of it. The encouragement and challenge for those who are disgruntled, frustrated, bewildered, or just plain ticked off at what’s happening within God’s church today is to stick around and do something about your frustration. Love God more deeply by loving his people more graciously.

Few things are as difficult! God’s church is a gathering of broken people who do messy things. Yet the church is the beloved bride of our Lord Jesus. It’s something that has captured his heart. While that’s certainly enough of a reason to treat the church with heightened reverence, there are plenty of biblical exhortations to love Christ’s followers with the same heartfelt passion that Jesus does. This alone makes God’s church something we must not turn our collective backs on.

 

Content taken from The Unfinished Church: God's Broken and Redeemed Work-in-Progress by Rob Bentz, ©2014. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Il 60187, www.crossway.org.