I Love Someone Else’s Bride?

Hey Church,

I’m still stunned by the awesome-ness (if it’s not a word, I’m making it one!) of this past Sunday’s gathering.  We welcomed a bunch of first time guests and saw the church shine together!  Thank you for being so willing to invest in others’ lives and invite them to a service with you to be exposed to the gospel!  Let’s not stop…let’s hit the gas and keep moving ahead.  Who are you bringing with you this weekend?  Oh, and who did you bring last weekend who’ll be returning with you this weekend too?  Our staff is doing an amazing job at connecting with our guests and inviting them back.  Help us turn those guests in to family by asking them to come back again this weekend.

Now, on my heart and mind this week has been something I’ve seen many times in my years of doing ministry.  I often hear people who say, “I just love my church,” or “I love being with the church.”  I love that!  It means that people are embracing what God is doing in us, among us and through us.  As I began to think over the idea of people loving their church I wondered, “what is it that people love?”  I mean, why do we love the church?  So I put myself in this conversation because I can relate to the following questions:

1.  Do I love the church because of what I am doing for God or because of what the church is doing for me?
2.  Do I love the church because I bring joy to God when we gather together or because the church makes me feel good?
3.  Do I love the church because God shows up and changes lives or because I show up and leave feeling entertained?
4.  Do I love the church because God has called many to serve others or because there are many to serve me?

It is dangerous to see the church as “there for me.”  Although the church is organized to care for others, its primary reason for existence is not to cater to the needs, wants or preferences of her members.  Rather, the church exists for one person and one mission alone.  We gather together for Jesus and His mission.  We gather together to serve others because Jesus gave His life as a ransom for many.  We gather together to put others’ needs before our own because Jesus said if you want to be great you should take on the role of a servant.  We gather together to expose people to the rhythms of God’s grace through the cross because Jesus said, “…when I am lifted up…(I) will draw all people to myself.”

It is not wrong to say that we love our church.  In fact, I believe that as we do we bring glory to Christ because the church is His bride and we are ascribing value and a sense of worth to her.  We simply have to keep our motivations in check to ensure that we never fall in to the trap of loving the church because of “what I get out of it.”

One way to keep my motivations in check is to really learn to serve the church in any capacity.  If I truly love the church then I will love her enough to serve her wherever and whenever it is needed.  Because the goal is to get Jesus’ message of rescue out to a world who’s dying to hear it.  And I LOVE when I can be a small part of that great and excellent task!

I truly LOVE my church!

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