As catchy as all the one word church names are these days I still don’t know a better name for God’s people than the Church of Christ or “Christ’s church.” It all belongs to Jesus. He is the head and we are the body. Some times I get wrapped up in all the wrong things and forget this very simple fact. I get worked up on owning too much of it for myself and setting a criteria for how effectively things need to be happening for the church to be a good church. Other times I attribute too much ownership to the elders. Still other times it feels like it is the church run or possessed by those with the loudest complaints.
None of us possess the church. It isn’t ours. It is hard to complain about something that isn’t yours. Our attitudes and actions are an ever present reminder that we often forget who the church belongs to. Our micromanagement of the details of ministry is the natural result of our underlying belief of who the church belongs to, us, we think.
It is liberating to be reminded that the church isn’t ours. We aren’t truly in charge. It isn’t beholden to us. There is a certain beauty that is restored to the church when we put this in perspective because it takes away our own personal criteria of what we think it will take to make the church “good” because the church is already “good” even if the programs we want to put in place aren’t happening yet.
The next time you struggle to see the beauty of the church, step back for a moment and consider how Jesus sees his most prized possession. Take a deep breath and smile. Jesus has more at stake in the life of the church than we do. And he sees the church as his beautiful bride who has no stain or blemish. If only we could see it that way too, oh how free and joyful we would be!