What are we looking for?

We want more than this world's got to offer.
~Switchfoot, Meant to Live

Awhile back I sat in front of a hurting couple. Hurt by a group of people and subsequently a church, my church. Somebody hadn't gotten back to them about the women's conference and the bible study they were in never reach out to them or studied the things they were interested in, there weren't enough classes, Pastor X had failed to greet them the last time they passed each other in church....the list went on.

We lost touch shortly after that but later I heard they left our church and took a whole group with them.

I empathized with them about some of the complaints. I had certainly once felt like one in a crowd of millions, known the sting of feeling rejected and uncared for. And I've done my fair share of church hopping.

But it got me wondering, how high are our expectations for the church?

If we are look for a church to meet our every need we will be sorely disappointed. The church in itself is simply a body of people with Jesus in common.

People. You and me. Us and them. Broken, all of us. What unifies us is a journey, but we each have our own. Certainly we were placed here with others for a reason, to form communities, support networks...to teach each other, to love each other, and to learn to live in relationship.

But never, never to have all our needs met by them.

If we could've done that we wouldn't have needed Jesus. Not one human being can meet all your needs, much less a crowd of them.

God is so much better at that part than we could ever be.

Leaving a church, joining a church, these things won't address what's really wrong. Wherever we go, whatever church we end up at, we still take along our lenses, preconceptions, and judgments.

John Bevere in his book Bait of Satan illustrates this perfectly with a story about some townspeople who are looking to move. They ask the wise man living near the gate what this new town is like. Instead of answering he asks them what their old city was like, to which they reply something like "horrible, uncaring." Hearing this answer he wisely chimes, "This town is the same as you have left, go on your way."

A wise man indeed. Confucius says, Wherever you go, there you are.

Because we take our hearts with us.

To take a wounded, hurting heart to another body of believers expecting them to heal you will lead to nowhere but more heart ache.

Leave a church, but leave because you've felt God pulling you elsewhere, not with a limping, offended heart.

People can do a lot of things, they can make you laugh and cry, stand with you in hard times, stand beside you in your triumphs, and push you onward in your journey. But they will also mess up and disappoint, because they're human.

There is no perfect body of believers because there is no perfect person.

And I think that's exactly the way God meant it to be, because it pushes us toward Him, the only One who can meet every need and much, much more. The only one who can wrap up our hearts and make them new, whole, and ready for the next adventure.


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