What the Church of Jesus Needs Most

Through my years of pastoring, I have read books and blogs, heard speakers, and watched videos of those in influence share what they believed the Church needs most. In reading Church history, one quickly discovers this is nothing new. There has persisted through the centuries a steady drip of discontent that never ceases. Alas, there has never been, nor will there ever be in this lifetime, a perfect expression of Jesus Church. Yet, we all long for a full expression of His Church here and now. And so, it's easy to find and resonate with voices of discontent. There is, though, a difference between persisting in love through discontent, allowing it to remind us of the age to come in which the imperfect is made perfect and the longings of our hearts are realized or feeding and fostering the discontent, allowing it to bring dishonor and discord within His Body here and now.

After pointing out the obvious problems within the Church, many tout the "one thing" needed to fix her. The list of ideals spouted by those in influence are typically felt and argued with passion and are usually a response against perceived problems. All of them have elements of truth which typically resonate with those of us who have felt similar feelings, causing us to champion the cause. Through the years, I have watched individuals and groups develop a kind of spiritual pride around these ideals. There can develop a belief that what we think needs to happen is, in fact, the thing that must happen. If continued,  our discontent turns into an unhealthy environment of an "us against them" which further feeds a kind of isolating self-assurance. Ironically, in spite of whatever good intentions may have existed originally for the betterment of the Church, this environment breeds mistrust and ultimately causing division.

The Church in the world has been torn asunder by self-assured ideals and preferences. Most of these convictions had elements of truth, but in the end, they only served to continue the splintering of His Body under the guise of good intentions.

To use the words of Paul, let me now show you a more excellent way (1 Co 12:31). Biblically speaking, there is one thing that God will bless us for as His church body. But be warned, it is far less sexy than the ideals people love to get passionate about pontificating as the Church's missing piece. Yet, it is genuinely what the Church needs most. Above and beyond all of the actions that God blesses, it is our faithfulness that attracts His favor.

To be clear, I am not writing this with Reading City Church in mind. RCC is filled with many faithful people. My gratitude runs deep to the family of God I get to serve, love, and be in mission with. I am thankful as well, for the strength of friendships that continue even when God has called some family members away. Rather, this is a commentary on concerns I have about the Church in America in general. In our inpatient day and age, I wonder if we are losing sight of the value of faithfulness in and out of season.

God blesses the church,  whose  members are devoted in their love for Him, in their love for His Church, imperfect as she may be, and who dedicate themselves to joining arms with brothers and sisters for the mission of Jesus in and out of season. Many of us sense the changes that need to happen and having grown disenfranchised with the newest quick fix, the only thing we know to do is pray for some kind of revival to come and heal His Body. But this is not all we can do. Instead of pointing our finger at the problems of the Body of Christ, we can remind ourselves that we are members of it and embrace a heart of faithfulness to her for the sake of Christ. Author and writer Graham Cooke gives this important distinction "Much of the terminology surrounding revival is geared to events and special circumstances. It is largely "visitation" terminology. We are looking for God to come in a move of the Spirit. Yet the language of Scripture is one of abiding, a habitation of the Spirit being built inside each of us."

One cannot live the Christian life without this abiding in Him. And one cannot be His Church without faithfulness to one another. The Church of Jesus was never meant to be perfect in this age, but we are meant to reflect the faithfulness of our God. There are numerous ideals touted as the needed fix for the Church today. My guess is, books about remaining faithful will not sell many copies because it's not as empowering to point the finger back to ourselves. But what the Church needs most is a steadfast people. This is what the Lord needs to build His Church. He, after all, is the builder. He only needs a faithful people with which to build.

"You know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:3 – 4).
 
-Vince Donnachie, Pastor of RCC