There is a change needed in the Church today. We need to place a big sign over the door that states, “No Perfect People Allowed.” Why? Because so many of the people attending your church would like you to believe that they are alright and have it all together when really they are dying inside and not doing well spiritually, financially, or relationally.
And a vast majority of the people who don’t attend your church stay away because they think they need to clean up their act and get it all together before they would be welcomed in your fellowship. Somehow we leave that impression with people as we interact with them on a daily basis. So, we need a sign that states that people who are not perfect are more than welcome and, in fact, encouraged to be a part of what God is doing – assuming, of course, that God is doing something in your church.
When I read the two letters that Paul wrote to the Corinthians it becomes very evident very quickly that this church did not have it all together. They had some serious things that needed to be adjusted and changed – and changed quickly. However, God was with them and their services had the gifts of the Holy Spirit flowing, and non-believers were attending and being convictd of their sins by the power of the Holy Spirit. They knew they were not perfect and that there was a great deal wrong with them still and apparently were not afraid of others finding that out about them. This became a sign to others that everyone was welcome but that no perfect people were allowed.
People today are looking for spiritual answers because they are recognizing that their problems in daily life are spiritual and not physical or social. They are looking for a place to ask their questions, express their doubts, and journey with others who are also searching but have found some of the answers already. They are looking for a local church that has the following characteristics:
1> They are willing to dialogue and discuss the Bible, the basic doctrines of the Christian faith, and how it all works in life today. The want to know that those who attend are on a journey – the same journey they are on – and that they are welcome to join us on the road even if they are not quite at the spot where we are on the road…and that they are free to question and discuss even the basics of the Christian faith and no one will be offended or become defensive.
2> They are authentic. People today are looking for a church where the members are real and not ‘plastic.’ A place where people are loved. A place where they can be themselves and not be judged or condemned by the words and actions of the members. A place where sinners are welcome and people can be honest and open about what they are going through or living with.
3> They are accepting. People want to belong to a church where they will know that they are accepted for who they are, how they live, dress, talk, and think. Where dress codes and outward appearance are not important because people are looking at the heart and not outward appearances.
4> They are growing spiritually. People today want a church that will accept them where they are on their journey towards faith in Christ but will also encourage them on their journey and help them to grow and walk in the fullness God intends for them.
5> They speak the truth but in love and with humility. People are really looking for truth today and have yet to realize that truth is found only in Jesus. So, the church today needs to speak the truth in love but it also needs to live the truth. Jesus came and lived among us to reveal the Father. We call this the Incarnation. People today are looking for churches where the truth is incarnational – lived out in every day life.
6> They have hope. People today are short on hope. They live in the present with little to no hope for the future. And, without hope in the future there is no power in the present. So, the church needs to be a place of optimism and hope. People need to know they can change and that things will get better as they walk with believers and come to know the Lord better.
7> They are connected to each other and live life as a big family. People want to be connected and to have a sense or feeling of belonging to something greater than themselves.
People are looking for a place to belong and interact with people on a level that they are comfortable with. This is why social networks like Facebook have become so popular so fast. The church needs to a place where people can connect and belong, feel safe to ask their questions, be free to be themselves, and find more than tolerance – find acceptance.
8> They believe in equipping and training people. Today a church needs to be a place where people can come and be equipped and trained for life and ministry. Not a place where professional do their thing up front and the people watch – but a place where everyone can become involved and learn how to minister and walk supernaturally so as to fulfill the calling that is on every believer’s life.
Much change is needed – we need a culture in the church that welcomes change. Change needs to be constant as we enter a new decade (2011 to 2020) of service for the Lord and reach the people who are without Christ but who are searching for the truth that is found only in Him.