Why I Love My Church

Kelley   |   September 28, 2023 

When I saw the option in this month's writing prompt to write three things I love about my church, I was thrilled. An opportunity to "boast” about my favourite local body of Christ in the world (no bias at all ;)) is always a welcome one.  I deeply delight in the group of believers I have the honour of worshipping with weekly. I am also quite keen to write on this topic as I am currently overseas and deeply miss my church family. Despite the joy of getting to worship with saints around the world in various seasons of life, there is nothing quite like coming home to the local body where my membership lies, and where my heart lies. However, before I unashamedly gush about my community, I do wish to offer an important disclaimer.

There's a good reason it is fairly standard to qualify that there is no perfect church. Every church is comprised of saints, yes, but saints who continue to struggle with sin. Please do not hear me say the areas I praise God for within the life of my local church are areas of perfection or areas where growth has come without sanctifying pain. When I say my church is full of sinners, I don't speak abstractly, but as one who has been hurt by the sins of my brothers and sisters and as one who has also hurt dear brothers and sisters with my own sin.

And yet, somehow, this makes what I love about my church all the more beautiful. Because the three things I (and I'd venture to say many of my fellow church members) love about our church are really things we love about her head, King Jesus.

And so, without further adieu, here are my three favourite things about my local church.

1. I love that Jesus is the good news at my church.

I am profoundly grateful that the message of the gospel is preached at my local church week in and week out. Though our preachers may vary in style, experience, and sermon length, there is seldom a week I don’t hear Jesus Christ presented, his death the only antidote for my damning sin and shame, his resurrection the only hope for my salvation and future glory now enjoyed in part. Every week, God’s word is opened, read, and expounded with the goal of pointing God’s people to the hope found in his Son.

I love that the gospel is not only preached in each sermon but also incorporated within the liturgy of each Sunday morning service. The redemptive narrative is weekly displayed from the call to worship God in his splendour, to confess our sin as his Spirit kindly rebukes, to receive assurance and seal of the pardon provided in Christ, to feast in communion with him at the table, and finally to be sent out joyfully into his world. I praise God that my church (despite all our temptations and shortcomings that at times might suggest otherwise) is ultimately united around this one message: Jesus has come to save sinners.

2. I love that Jesus runs my church.

I am thrilled to credit Dr. Guy Waters, one of my seminary professors, with this phrase, as well as the entire scope for biblically viewing church government, from his book on the same, “How Jesus Runs the Church.” Knowing that it is Jesus who runs my church brings great relief in light of the first point: every member of my church, including our pastors, are sinners in need of the gospel. No one is truly equipped to rule the church aside from Jesus himself. And, because of this, though I strongly believe in the biblical basis for qualified men to take up leadership in the church through the roles of elder and deacon, I also believe that the church can never become a one man show.

In my church, I am thankful that this looks like a plurality of teaching and ruling elders who together submit to the rule and reign of Christ. When one elder sins, another must call him out. And it doesn’t stop there. Because of my church also being accountable to the elders in our denomination, our elders as a body are never governing without receiving governance themselves. I love that Jesus loves his church so much that he has given us a system of government where the leaders are held accountable to their flock as under shepherds of the only perfect Shepherd. And I love that in my church this looks like a freedom given to all to hold each other accountable under his kingship, no matter the leadership role. I love that my elders invite correction if their message isn’t pointing to Christ or faithful to the biblical text, or if their lives don’t display his character. I love that when they do fail, they are faithful in repentance and in pointing us to the one who truly runs the church impeccably, our King Jesus.

3. I love that Jesus has made my church my family.

I love the relationship between Jesus and his church, and thus between fellow church members. Each of us united to Christ through his death and resurrection is truly also united in the same bond to every other follower of Christ. This is another gift that can, by God’s mercy, be found in communities of faith throughout the world. And yet, what a distinct joy when a group of believers bound together in Christ, members of the same body universally, also come together visibly and devote themselves to the mission of Christ within a local body. When these truths about our relationship with one another as a local church daily make their way again and again from our head to our heart, it absolutely transforms us—from “random” people of mismatched personalities, ages, life stage, etc. into a family.

I adore my church family. I love to come into our meeting space each Sunday and receive their hugs, to talk to their children, to answer their questions about how I’m “really” doing. I love being in their homes throughout the week, drinking coffee together and talking about our hearts and how Jesus is working. I love working alongside them in dreaming about Christ’s kingdom and how we as a body can be used to its advancement by his grace. I love this family. And, I love that it is an open and welcoming family.

So often, our fleshly impulse when we find a group we connect with is to close up quickly, lest newcomers might somehow hinder what we have found. We are all prone to section off into cliques. Thus, I am so thankful for God’s mercy that this isn’t ultimately what I have seen occur in my church. Each person God brings in is welcomed as an addition to our family’s joy. I have personally experienced this, as my church welcomed me as a family member when I was very literally a stranger. And the implications of this welcome for my soul’s growth will only be fully seen in glory.

In summary, I love that Jesus is the good news at my church, that Jesus runs my church, and that Jesus has made my church my family. And though I welcome the opportunity to thank God for my church, I hope that this article goes beyond my personal thanksgiving and that we are all encouraged toward seeing and contributing toward these markers in our various local churches.

This is the church we can all seek out and contribute toward as members abiding in Christ the head. I truly do love my church. Not because she is perfect (far from it, at the very least because I go there!). I love her because Jesus is perfect, and he loves our small community of frail sinners who he is daily transforming into triumphant saints. Through our church, and a million other ordinarily glorious local churches, he is building his kingdom on this earth.

 

Photo by Josh Eckstein on Unsplash

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Kelley

Kelley loves coffee dates, scheduling, traveling whenever possible, and reading fiction. She is passionate about life in Bangalore where she resides with her husband and little girl. She is currently enjoying learning to drive in the city, though she still enjoys long auto rides the most. This year, she is learning more about her identity in Christ and how only he provides true rest for her soul. With this, she is learning to take herself less seriously and to take him more seriously (a work in progress for sure!)

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