Attending a church is not the same as belonging to a church.
This is great insight from Pastor Matt Chandler of The Village Church in Dallas, Texas. He has a great sermon series entitled “The Apostles’ Creed” which looks at this well-known statement of faith recited by Christians worldwide and yet very rarely fully understood.
In it, he addresses a great question…why do a lot of people who consider themselves true Christians not fully commit to a church?
Here is what Chandler had to say on that matter…
“A lot of people, I’ve learned, never join churches for one of two reasons. One, they have figured out some things are wrong with the church, and they don’t fully agree, so they don’t join. In fact, I met a brother last night at the 5:00 service, and he was like, ‘Hey, my son is in Oklahoma City. I’m trying to get him to check out this church.’ I actually do know that pastor really well, so I said, ‘Is your son just in a tough spot, just in a dry season?’
He said, ‘Well, he just really feels like the church has let him down.’ I said, ‘Oh my gosh. So do I. Tell him so do I.’ I’ve tried to say now for over a decade, praise God that there are no perfect churches, because if there were, where could we belong? I don’t want to be the one who shows up and jacks it all up, such a perfect church. ‘Can I be a member?’ (explosion sound) No longer a perfect church. I don’t want to do that. That’s one reason.
The second reason is kind of the other side of that coin. You feel like, ‘Oh man. I’m such a mess. If I join this church… Golly. I would make it even screwier than it is.’ It’s the same side. Both are really predicated upon an arrogant view of oneself.”
This week, try to encourage someone you know to feel welcomed into the Kingdom of God, regardless of their prior background or history. If we make it self-evident that we are far from perfection, yet made perfect in Christ, it might help encourage that person you know to give the church another chance. After all, we are not just Christians—we are ambassadors for Christ. So let’s be the reflections of He who doesn’t give up on us, even despite our own shortcomings to live up to God’s standards. And praise God that we have a Savior whose relationship with us isn’t predicated on our own achievements or accomplishments.