“Give yourself to the Church. You that are members of the Church have not found it perfect and I hope that you feel almost glad that you have not. If I had never joined a Church till I had found one that was perfect, I would never have joined one at all! And the moment I did join it, if I had found one, I should have spoiled it, for it would not have been a perfect Church after I had become a member of it. Still, imperfect as it is, it is the dearest place on earth to us.” – C.H. Spurgeon
It is with concern and apprehension that I write this.
As of late, I have been swamped with various articles, blog posts, videos and conversation that all seem to be running along the same thread of either open discontent with or rejection of the local church.
Granted, I am fully aware that there are those who seek to usurp the God-designed plan for the local church and create in its place one of their own liking. However, I’d rather join my voice in support of those local churches comprised of men, women and children who love Jesus deeply, cherish the Word of God and desire for their communities, local and global, to come to know the liberating grace that is found in Christ alone.
I am truly blessed to be a pastor of one such church.
So with that in mind, I would like to state here a few of the reasons why I love my church. It is not my intention to be a flag-waver for my local church in order to make other local churches seem inferior. The things I will share are not only found at Salem Baptist Church; they are found in every congregation where believers in Christ assemble to do life together in submission to God’s Word. My goal for this post is for you to see that even though your local church is not perfect, as Spurgeon said, “it is the dearest place on earth to us.”
Why I Love My Church
1. My church is comprised of people who are aware of their sinfulness and seek to walk in submission to the authority of the Word of God.
2. My church treats prayer like a big deal.
3. My church seeks to be conformed to the image of Christ as they pursue personal holiness.
4. My church is committed to God’s glory being displayed in their lives, homes, and communities.
5. My church cherishes and seeks to spread the gospel.
6. My church settles issues that arises as best they can with love and grace.
7. My church supports its leaders with more than money.
8. My church looks for effective ways it can minister to one another and to our community at large.
9. My church loves my children.
As a father of three, I am grateful for those in my church who have resolved to pour their lives into the gospel proclamation to my children. These men and women have accrued hundreds of hours of often thankless service in not just “babysitting” but biblically-centered instruction.
Not only that, I am thankful that my church sees this service as a ministry of the church, not a side note of the “larger” ministries. My children’s teachers are well-qualified and instruct them in the Word of God as well as possessing a genuine concern for their whole lives.
There has never been a birthday that Wanda Brewer, a stalwart teacher in our nursery department, has missed sending a heartfelt card.
There does not exist a child at Salem who has been in attendance since birth that has not been loved and held by Carrie Brewer.
As a matter of fact, my children will leave my side without a moment’s hesitation to run and give Pam Scruggs a hug.
The list goes on and on and on.
10. At my church there is a genuine community generated by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
11. My church welcomes those who do not yet know Christ with no strings attached.
12. My church is selfless in their generosity.
The congregation of Salem Baptist Church have so committed their lives to one another that I can say without any reservation that they truly have”all things in common (Acts 2:44).” In the small time I have been blessed to be a part of this faith family, I have seen countless acts (and I’m sure of many more that have gone unnoticed) in which needs have been met above and beyond the norm.
Those with financial needs have been provided for, often anonymously.
Those needing a place to stay have been invited into homes with no expiration date.
Vehicles have been purchased for those in need.
Rent has been paid.
Furniture has been moved.
Repairs have been done.
Help has been given.
13. At my church, the older generation pours their lives into the younger generation.
14. At my church, the younger generation loves and respects the older generation.
15. My church loves the gospel and seeks to live out it’s implications.
This may seem like a given within any local church, but I appreciate my local church’s love for the message of the cross. The clearly seen desire of our members is for the gospel to be proclaimed in the preached Word, music, ministry and conversation.
In short, my church is my family. And just like any family there are no perfect people. But I wouldn’t want them any other way. That’s what being a member of a family is all about. We understand one another’s shortcomings and failings and, in spite of them, we live and worship Christ together.
That’s why I love my church.