I love the church.
For a lot of years, “I love Jesus, but not the church” or “the church may stink, but it's the only thing afloat” have been cool things for a lot of Christians to say.
I used to be one of those people. Not anymore.
I love the church. No apologies. No qualifiers.
A few years ago, Dan Kimball wrote a terrific book entitled They Like Jesus, But Not the Church. The attitude in that title is completely appropriate for unchurched people. But not us.
'They Like Jesus, But Not the Church' makes sense. 'We like Jesus, but not the church' is sad and kind of sick. After all, the church IS US!
If I don’t like something about the church, I have a responsibility to change it because IT is US and US includes ME!
The Church Kid
If anyone ever had good reasons to love the church it’s me. I’m a third-generation pastor. My grandparents and parents met because of the church. I was born while my dad was preaching. (The doctor miscalculated and I came early.)
Some of my best memories of growing up were in and around church activities. I met my wife in church, married her in a church, and had my kids and grandchild dedicated in a church.
Yet all of that pales to the four main reasons I love the church.
1. Jesus Loves the Church
If you do a Bible study on religion, you’ll find a lot of bad news mixed in with the good. But if you do a Bible study on the church it’s almost entirely good news.
Religion regularly gets a bad rap in the Bible, but the church doesn’t.
Even when people in specific churches are a mess (hello Corinth!), when you study all the Bible verses with “church” in them, it adds up to a glowing review.
The church verses show us people who send missionaries, care for travelers, share everything they have, encourage the hurting, care for the poor, teach God’s Word, support the weak and pray for each other.
The only real negatives I can find are in Revelation 2 and 3. The rest of the New Testament church verses are practically a Valentine’s card to God’s people.
This is especially surprising since the Bible isn’t shy about showing the warts of its heroes. But the church comes through, not only almost unscathed, but with praise reserved for no one else but Jesus himself. Especially in the ‘bride of Christ’ passages.