An Imperfect Church…to strive for?
Posted on: October 8, 2007
A few months back I did a post titled ‘A perfect church’, however the more I think about the phrase the more I disagree with it, the more I’m in church, the more band practices I go to, the more sermons I hear, the more people I speak to the more I come to this conclusion…
We don’t need, nor should we want a perfect church
In fact….(please read on after this before thinking I’m wrong) I think we need an ‘imperfect church’.
The fact is the church is made up of imperfect human beings. Imperfect human beings with imperfect lives, some with more than others, some with more visible imperfections than others but never-the-less imperfect people.
I think too often churches have the mentality that their church has got to be perfect. It has to be the best worship with no wrong notes, the best sermon with a challenging message, the best response with a flock of people running down to the front ready to be prayed for and be filled with the Holy Spirit but I disagree…
yes, worship that sounds good is nice, worship with no wrong notes is good, it’s great to have a cracking sermon, even better when you do a sermon to have a flock of people down the front and awesome to see God working however that’s not what we’re called to do, I think whenever we lead worship at church, play an instrument, sing, preach or whatever we shouldn’t try and be perfect, we should come before God with our imperfections, do our very best and let Him do the rest.
I remember one sunday at Park Baptist in Yarmouth we went along, came to do a song and the laptop with the words crashed…disasterous, no-one knew lyrics or anything so what did we do? stop the service until it was fixed? Do the song anyway and let people complain? Nope, we did a completely unrehersed song everyone knew the words to and the worship experience was awesome because we didn’t let an imperfection get in our way, we just got on with what we were called to do and that is worship God.
I’ve been in music practices where a song is repeated over and over again because one note is wrong, or slightly out of time and yes I understand that we should do our very best for God, especially when leading worship but some of the times I’ve felt closest to God have been during completely out of time worship.
I’m not saying we need to strive to be crap but that sometimes we need to accept that we aren’t perfect and that it is only in Christ we are made perfect. We also need to accept that God doesn’t want perfect worship, he wants hearts focused on Him, he doesn’t care if we’re off key, out of tune or singing the wrong verse, it’s about bring our imperfect worship before God and letting him make it perfect.
The same applies for the rest of the church we need to stop trying to be perfect on our own and just do our very best before God and let Him continue to make us closer to being perfect through Jesus Christ.
I leave you with these few times of worship I’ve experienced….
1 – A field, on a cold afternoon, it was Soul Survivor and 4 of us, myself and 3 young people sat there singing worship songs at random, some of them we made up keys for, others we were just completely out of tune…it was still worship, I believe it glorified God just as much as Tim Hughes’ led worship does.
2- Letton Hall – It was the night before young people arrived, there were five of us there, with 2 guitars and no music we did some worship, we were all out of tune but it led to a powerful hour or so of prayer….it was still worship, I believe it glorified God just as much as the latest hillsong album does.
My point is that it doesn’t matter how imperfect our worship is as long as we aim to glorify God by giving our all, God doesn’t say ‘you’re out of key get out my presence’.
And finally where does this leave the church?
It leaves the church exactly where it was 2000 years ago, a group of people united by the Grace of Jesus Christ coming to learn more about God, coming to worship Him, coming to meet with Him. It’s still a group of broken people, a group of people who know they cannot do life on their own, a group of people who know the saving Grace of Jesus, a group of people who should realise that they’re not perfect and that it is through Jesus they can be made perfect, and all they have to do is ‘act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with their God’ (Micah 6:8).
To come back to my original statement, perhaps we shouldn’t want an imperfect church, but perhaps we should stop trying to perfect it on our own and let Jesus do it