From the Pulpit: Churches, much like people, have personalities
“For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.” Romans 12:4-6. – Churches all have at least two things in common: Like people, every church is different and every church is the same. Every church is unique, especially to its members. We see ourselves as distinct from other churches. We see ourselves as loving and close. We have our patriarchs and matriarchs, talented singers and an anointed preacher. Well, just about every church sees itself that way. Thus, our perceived differences make us the same. The fundamental unifying factor in the Church is or should be the personality of Christ Jesus.
Churches like families can be a bit dysfunctional.
Nevertheless, they are families, the family of God. Like families, there can be conflicts and strife, “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” James 3:10. Churches are not building programs, services, and the like (though these are important). However, churches are the family of God. Everything else, but people and Christ, can be changed or replaced. The church is to have no sacred cows, they cause the dysfunctions.
God has always intended his church to grow.
Acts 9:31 exemplifies the condition of a healthy church, “Then the churches had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.” First, there is peace. Peace is a byproduct of love. A body governed by love will be at peace. The second condition is that of edification. People are taught and encouraged. The third indication is that the people reverence God. They live honorable lives accompanied by an attitude of worship and praise. Then there is the assurance of the presence of the Lord, which is the comfort of the Holy Spirit. When these conditions are in place, the Church is healthy and will multiply. The question: Do these characteristics represent your Church? Better yet, do they describe you? If there is one part of the body spiritually unhealthy, the whole body is infirmed. Your church will only be as spiritually healthy as you are. If there is sin in your life, there is sin in your church because you are part of the body of Christ.
Let us communally and individually follow the example of the first-century church, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship … praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42-47.