Yesterday, a good rain came through late in the afternoon and beat the temperatures back 5-10 degrees. Crisp blue skies followed, so we went for a walk where we ran into neighbors and started chatting. Eventually, our conversation turned to the churches we attend.
Each couple attended a different church and denomination. One of our friends shared how he had cried in the middle of church that morning as the pastor preached and the Holy Spirit ministered to him. Another bragged on his church saying he had never attended church until a few years ago, and through its ministry he and his wife had become followers of Christ. I joined in and offered my own positive report of the depth of community around God’s love we have experienced at our church. It’s unlike anything offered by the world, I shared.
But then the conversation shifted from the things we like about our churches to some of the things that irritate us. We took turns nodding in agreement, challenging each other, and sharing some of our own frustrations. But, in the end, we proclaimed together with a chuckle or two that no church is perfect because we’re not perfect. Only the One we gather to worship is and that is why we call Him Savior.
This month’s issue is our annual River Region Church Directory issue. You won’t find one perfect church in our listing, but don’t let that stop your search, because God has a group of Christians who aren’t complete until you join with them to worship Him and to serve one another and your neighbor in His name.
I share the story of me and my neighbors because its an honest picture of church. Yes, Christians are striving by the Spirit to live on earth as it is in heaven, but we fall short since we’ve yet to obtain full freedom from sin and the world. Accepting these shortcomings and the world’s influence should make us want to gather even more, offering our giftings of support and feeding together upon God’s gracious word in order to be sustained in this life.
Did 2020 get you out of the habit of attending church? Have you recently moved to the area and are without a church home? My prayer is that our Church Directory will be the resource that reconnects you back to God’s people and therefore a deeper walk with the Lord Himself.