“If you’re looking for the perfect church, don’t bother, it doesn’t exist. And if it did, they wouldn’t accept you, ’cause you’re not perfect.”
– Jurgen Schonwetter
Ah, the perfect church. The church that screams 10/10. That ever elusive perfect community of good Christian folks who excel at everything. The church that gives us the worship style we want. The church that gives us the right mix of people in a small group. The church that has the most dynamic and enticing youth program which carries an awesomeness that all but forces your ‘malcontent on faith’ teen to come and learn about Jesus. The church that somehow engages the young adult in a way that inspires them to be part of a multitude of committee’s, or if it is a cool perfect church, action teams. The church that meets it’s budget every single year with plenty to spare for so all those other organizations doing good work who ask the church for support can get adequate money to continue doing what they do even in the midst of an ecomonic downturn.
You know, that church that has those people who automatically know when things are going badly so you don’t actually have to communicate the despair deep within your soul. The church that is welcoming, not to the point of awkwardly chasing you down in the parking lot to join them for a new comers lunch, but a welcoming that sits perfectly in balance with invitation and giving you space. The church that doesn’t disagree on things. The church that inspires a radical discipleship. The church that has a few hipsters, but not too many because then they wouldn’t actually be able to be hipsters anymore. The church that has the really good sound guy or gal. The church that has the really good website guy or gal. The church that has the really good trendy speaker. The church that has the perfect mix of volunteers so it doesn’t ask 5% of the people to do 95% of the work.
It’s the church that makes art. The church that connects with the neighbourhood in a way that doesn’t jam the Bible down it’s throat, but rather strives toward relationship. The church that has 1000 baptisms every year. The church that has 6 services on the weekend, and one on Thursday because there is no more room on the weekend for another service. The church that really get’s the social justice thing. The church that just sit’s there, in all it’s glory being perfect… WAIT, is that even the vision of a perfect church?
If you are looking for a perfect church, I cannot help but wonder if merely looking implies your own perfection? Well you better be perfect, because if you aren’t, and you find that ever elusive perfect church, their is potential that you may ruin the whole thing.
Church is not perfect or stainless, but a group of people that love amidst the imperfections and brokeness of life. As my collegue puts it, humanity must deal with this ‘terrible honesty’ that we are with fault. Sometimes when you get a bunch of people together, united in their brokeness bad stuff can happen. A striving for perfection misses the point. Love is about the imperfect, the mourning, the meek, the weak, the persecuted, and all the other stuff. Love is about those deep dark places within our being that scream ‘I am broken.’
The beauty is that within it’s imperfection the church needs to love as God so first loved us. The beauty is that this love God has for us is beyond perfect. The beauty is the coming together of imperfect people loving one another stains and all. In those moments chuches are not perfect, they are beyond perfect and grounded in a different reality. They are heavenly.
Love God, do life together and invite others to join the party.
Psalm 119:96 Even perfection has it’s limits, but your commands have no limit. (NLT)