by Jonathan Perz
When one’s expectations for local churches full of imperfect people drive their faith, they often end up facing one, if not all, of these “D’s” in the title of this article. I talk to so many who have walked away because they are hurt by the church. Yet their greater challenge is that they place too much emphasis on and have unrealistic expectations for a local church. Their faith is largely rooted in the local church, not the Lord. So, when the local church fails, as it will, their faith falters.
Local churches will struggle, face challenges, and fall short (read Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, for a synopsis of the failings of local first-century churches). In a perfect world, local churches would never disappoint. But we live in a sinful world, and churches, at their best, are made up of struggling sinners who are forgiven. Still, Satan tempts, and Christians succumb. Church members, thus, don’t always say the right things or act the right way. Therefore, it is critical to ensure our faith is always rooted in He, who will never fail us, and He, who will never disappoint us.
For those out there struggling to rekindle their faith and recover from their hurt, I point you to Jesus. Remember why you love and follow Him. Then, you will have a basis upon which to love and labor with His imperfect, struggling people - the church. It also serves well to recall that the church we will gather in heaven will not be made up of struggling, imperfect souls but those who were victorious. There will be no sin there. So, with that as our hope, let us rekindle our love for the Lord and His people, putting our trust primarily in Him as we strive to encourage one another to reach home.