Will the church ever change is a question I find at the root of many Christians struggling to find hope and meaning in a church that often appears void of either.
Today, I’m launching a new series that explores these doubts, along with others, that many people have with the church and Christianity in general. This will not be a church bashing series, so don’t get worried but we will explore some topics that may stir up deep held emotions.
This is ok.
It’s part of the healing process that not only rebuilds our hope but also brings along the creativity and persistence that change is built from.
The Church Paradox
My goal is to hopefully bring a little fresh air to the doubts so many of us have experienced after encountering the church and give room to explore those doubts without fear of being broken under the weight of them.
I say it often but the church is a paradox to herself. She is full of grace and mercy one moment and then unforgiveness and dissension in the next. But the hope in her is not found in her successes or failures, it’s found in our faith in her Creator and His ability to bring peace out of chaos.
So, to kick off this series let’s briefly talk about a question I’m sure many of us have asked before:
Will the church ever change?
Most of the time I find this question being asked right after something has happened in the church that causes doubt.
Money was spent in a way we didn’t agree with. A family in the congregation decided it was time to leave. The church services seem methodical and dry, lacking interaction and involvement. We attended a business meeting that would make Clint Eastwood blush.
It’s All About Control
The point is, doubt is a reaction to a circumstance generally out of our control.
I mean, if we had control of it, we wouldn’t be doubting in the first place… We would just go fix whatever was broken and move on with our lives.
Doubt is a reaction to a circumstance generally out of our control.
Doubt comes out of our desire to have some form of control in a world around us and form it into an image we think is beautiful.
But that’s not how God’s church works.
God Gives Us The Tools
I’m a big believer that if God wants us to actively put our hands to something to bring change to it, then He gives us all the tools necessary (this includes faith and hope) at the time needed to accomplish what He has given us to do.
If you’re upset, for instance, over how money was spent in the church the answer is not to leave; it is to seek Gods peace and will in this situation. It is important to remember that the launchpad of change always, and I mean always, starts in us first and then moves outward.
Change Starts In Us
The disciples didn’t go out and ask people to follow Christ without first following Him themselves. Jesus didn’t blindly ask us to follow Him and live by His teachings without first demonstrating and living out this life in Himself as an example. Mother Teresa didn’t ask for someone else to feed the poor without first going to feed them and sacrifice to them herself.
Change starts in us then moves out.
There is a pattern here I think you can see: Change starts in us then moves out.
Sure the church is broken and makes some really stupid decisions at times and it is perfectly acceptable and perhaps even necessary to doubt those decisions at times. The danger comes when our doubt of a decision turns into doubting the church as a whole can ever change. We must be careful to not confuse our idealized version of change as God’s perfect idea of change.
God is at work in the storms and the sunshine.
The paradox of the church has never stopped God from accomplishing exactly what He has set out to accomplish.
Doubt that is not paired with faith leads us to hopelessness.
Hopelessness is a condition of the soul losing faith in God, presented in a wrapper of losing faith in people. – @brandon_gross
B – Points | Cliff-Notes Version
- Doubting decisions the church makes is ok and can be healthy. It’s when we let our doubt in a decision turn into doubting God’s ability to work through His church that we start down the road of hopelessness.
- Doubt is a reaction to a circumstance generally out of our control.
- Change ALWAYS starts in us and then moves out. Don’t expect someone else to go down a path you are not willing to travel with them.
- If God wants you to change something He will give you the ability/tools to accomplish that change. Be prepared however the tools He gives you might simply be to bring that change into your own life first before He ever sends you to offer that change to anyone else. It starts with you.
- The brokenness of the Church is not stopping God from accomplishing exactly what He intends to accomplish.
- Hopelessness is a condition of the soul losing faith in God, presented in a wrapper of losing faith in people.