I love parachurch ministries. (ministries like Campus Crusade For Christ, Lifeway, Hope Pregnancy Center, etc.) They play such an important role in the kingdom, coming alongside the church in a beautiful way to serve our communities. I’ve done ministry with parachurch organizations, served on leadership boards, and pointed countless people to them as viable, vital organizations.
But I have distinctly chosen not to work at a parachurch. I have nothing bad to say against them. Nothing at all. But I understand where God’s called me to lead and serve, and it’s in a local church.
Recently I sat down with the VP at a large Christian organization, and he pitched me a job offer. It was a sweet gig, and the twist he threw my way was, “This is the chance to serve not just one, but to serve thousands of local churches through your work here.” It caused me to take a step back and evaluate who I was and what God was calling me to.
In the process, I realized how much I love the local church. I saw just how much I adore the local expression of the body of Christ. I received a renewed passion for this beautiful, hot mess of a bride that Jesus died for.
6 reasons I love the church
1. It’s messy.
Local church work isn’t neat and tidy. Ever. If it grows clean, that means you’re not doing the work of evangelism…or you’re disengaged from real ministry. Real ministry with real people who have real problems is a mess. And I’ve found that when people are open and honest with where God has them, the doubts and frustrations they’re experiencing, and the places where they’re most confused, spiritual growth happens in huge ways.
Neat and tidy is boring.
2. It’s not a formula.
There is no one-size-fits-all system. There is no perfect structure. No ministry without hiccups. You can learn principles from other churches, but copying methodology doesn’t work. What worked in one church likely won’t work in another.
Formulas are boring.
3. It’s not a bunch of “professionals.”
Pastors are not “professionals.” We are on the journey with those we are leading, broken people leading broken people. We are redeemed sinners leading people to the King. I’m thankful that I am free to be who God has created me to be, not masking over the parts of my life I’d rather stay hidden. It’s time for pastors to stop hiding behind beautiful masks.
“Professional” is boring.
4. It’s chaotic.
Church world not always chaos, but ministering to and with real people is edgy. You can’t box ministry in, because the moment you do, you’ll find that the box has moved. Chaos is scary and uncontrollable…ripe ground for faith to grow.
Controlled boxes are boring.
5. The work is never done.
No matter what you do, who you “fix,” what system is just “perfect,” there will always be more work to do. And I love that. There are challenges everywhere you look. And everybody is a work in progress. Pastors included. Sunday is always coming.
Completion is boring.
6. We are the bride of Christ.
Christ died for us! The local church was worth the blood of Christ. The local church, that messy, chaotic, unprofessional, constantly-needing-fixed, uncontrollable, beautiful bride, is worth every ounce of effort I can give.
The bride of Christ is not boring.
Do you work in/serve the local church? What do you love so much about your church?