What would your ideal gym be like? Would you want talkers on the treadmills or headphones? Upbeat, dancy music or hard and heavy rock? More yoga or Cross Fit? What about the gym membership? Everyone the same level as you? Strong and good looking? Spaghetti arms but trying? Absolute beginners?
Would any of that matter so long as the gym did what it was supposed to? It’s supposed to make you stronger, more disciplined, healthier, and more fit for life in a body. A good gym for me would be one that makes getting uncomfortable enjoyable and rewarding.
Couldn’t I say the same thing about church? What would the ideal church look like? Soft pews and ceiling fans? Old hymns or new praise music? More light sermons or heavy theology? What about church membership? Everyone a mature Christian? Faithful and loved? Raggedly weak but trying? Absolute beginners?
Would any of that matter so long as the church did what it was supposed to? It’s supposed to make you stronger, more disciplined, healthier, and more fit for life in a body. A good church for me would be one that makes getting uncomfortable enjoyable and rewarding.
Too often we want church to be enjoyable without the discomfort. We want to become strong Christians without iron sharpening iron, without mild conflicts, without self reflection and bearing with one another in love. Or we want everybody who comes in to work as hard as we are and get the same results. Or we want them to stay just because we want them to be healthier even if they don’t want to lift a pencil.
A healthy church body will have a mix of it all. Strong, weak, new, and old Christians - even some coming in for a trial membership. What is important for a healthy church will be to remember that EVERYONE is invited to be a part of it. God spoke about Jesus through Isaiah in chapter 56 verse 7-8, “My house will be a house of prayer for ALL nations . . . I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered.”
Let us be as inviting as Christ, and to allow the Holy Spirit to work us out and yet find it enjoyable. As Hebrews 12: 11 says, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those that have been trained by it.”
See you at the water fountain.
Sean King is the Pastor for First Christian Church of Cisco.