I was chatting with an old friend who, like me, has been a believer from our high school days back when we were wearing long hair and called Jesus Freaks. Now as the Freaks have become “Evangelicals” (that is sooooo weird), we wonder what’s happened to the faith once for all delivered. Specifically, we were commiserating about the stupid, goofy, and occasionally sinful things we’ve seen in church contexts.
Yes! I frequently make the joke that I love Jesus, I love the church, but actual Christians are really disgusting – imagine what God thinks of us! (There’s a reason that I’m glad God has blessed me with parenthood: back when they were really little, my gorgeous children could be rather disgusting, but I still loved them dearly) Anyway, that's one reason that my calling is to dysfunctional churches. There is much that I've seen in the church that is good and right, and a lot that is stupid, ignorant, and rebellious. My desire is to facilitate God’s working in those churches; partly for no more noble reason than for them to stop giving Jesus such a bad name.
My friend and I were also talking about the many people we’ve seen wounded and scarred by church ministry. I also wonder at why so many guys end up leaving pastoral roles. I think something is systemically wrong. I highly suspect that our 'recruitment' process is messed up - there are a lot more that are "called" to ministry than really should go. We esteem leadership too low and allow people to lead who probably have no business doing so. Out of our egalitarian philosophy rather than Bible, we really believe that Christian leadership is something everyone should do. We should probably have fewer Elders and more Deacons. We should re-think what being "Elder Qualified" really means. And I could go on and on - but I can't because I really need to get my Greek homework done this morning. :-) Pray for me, we are beginning participles.
Yes, the church can and has been a place of rampant anti-Jesus stuff. Let’s change that! It is NOT easy to do, but God calls us to it anyway. It will not be comfortable and grate against most of our preferences, but God says he’ll be with us as we move to being better Jesus people.