Do you love your church?
That’s an important question.
Your answer has a significant bearing on how you participate, grow in your faith, serve and lead.
This is especially true when life is challenging, stressful, divided, and honestly, sometimes, a little crazy.
I love my church.
Yes, I’m on staff. But hey, do you love your job? You are blessed if you do, and I sure love mine.
If I weren’t on staff, I’d still be part of this church.
Is 12Stone a perfect church? Nope.
No church is perfect.
Similar to a church, there is no perfect marriage, but there are countless vibrant and healthy marriages because the couple decided to love each other and build a great relationship.
Sometimes it’s that simple. Make a decision to love your church.
When times are tough, you can fight with your spouse or fight for your spouse. The same is true for your church. It’s a choice.
In a church, again, like a marriage, you find what you look for. If you look for the negative, that’s what you’ll find. If you look for the good, that’s what you’ll find.
When you help make your church better by praying, serving, loving, and giving, it becomes more meaningful to you, and your experience of spiritual growth becomes more alive.
Sunday’s teaching on September 13th was one of the many moments that reminds me of WHY I love my church.
(The full sermon is available online.)
Here’s a 15-minute clip from our senior pastor Kevin Myers that will encourage you as a pastor, Christ-follower, and someone who loves your own church.
What is my intent in writing this post?
I’d like to encourage you, maybe even inspire you, to do the same. Go on social media and say something positive and from the heart about your church.
- Your church needs your encouragement.
- The Biblical mission of your church needs your support.
- Our country needs Jesus.
- We all need more unity and less division.
7 Reasons why I love my church:
1) We are serious about God but often laugh at ourselves.
Guests at 12Stone often comment on the “intimacy and intensity” of God’s presence during the worship services.
Great worship and teaching bring both the tenderness of God’s love and the power of His presence. It’s unmistakable.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.John 14:6
We lift up Jesus, and take Scripture seriously, but we really don’t take ourselves all that serious.
We know we are flawed, laugh a lot, and enjoy being together – well, as much as COVID lets us be together for now.
I can’t wait to see the smiles behind the masks again!
2) We are large on compassion and small on judgment.
The people are amazing. Yes, I’m biased, but they really are.
The people of our multi-campus congregation genuinely care about others. I’ve been on the team for 19 years and I am truly humbled at how our people give generously and serve for the good of others.
The expressions of compassion locally and globally are staggering. One of the many reasons I pray for the end of the coronavirus is so the teams can return to more of our global ministry.
There’s a group of men called “Joshua’s Men” (A leadership development program) who have taken on huge mission work in Kenya. They can’t wait to go back! And there are dozens more just like them.
3) We are more about purpose and less about program.
Ministry programming matters and needs to be excellent, but the vision and purpose drives it.
The vision of your church keeps ministry headed in the right direction.
12Stone purpose statement:
“Because of the rescuing hand of Jesus, we pursue personal transformation, one life at a time.”
We’ve changed the wording a few times over a couple of decades or more but the heart of it has always been the same – to reach people for Jesus and disciple them in their growing faith and spiritual maturity.
The vision is about:
- Transforming Souls
- Transforming Families
- Transforming Communities
I trust the leadership, the staff, the volunteer leaders, and all who serve. We’re all in it together!
I know you are “all in” for your church too. Let your community know!
Your community needs all that you and your church have to offer.
4) We are high on acceptance and low on formality.
12Stone is casual in its environments, and the people possess a loving heart.
You can come as you are, and everyone is welcome.
We acknowledge that we are broken and sinful, but that God can and does make us a new person in Christ. From there, we discover from his Word what the lifestyle He has designed for us looks like.
We’re probably a little low in the rulebook department, but high on what Scripture says.
We don’t have all the answers but follow God who does.
Current culture, now more than ever, needs to know your church cares about people.
I’m confident you do care about people, but we all need to work at making sure the people we serve know it too.
5) We are tall on integrity and short on conformity.
The climate we are living in these days is in desperate need of integrity. I’m not meaning perfection, no one is perfect, but a sense of character that people can trust.
I get to talk with lots of pastors and church leaders, and I always love hearing their passion and integrity representing who they are and how they genuinely love to serve in the name of Jesus.
That is powerful!
We are blessed with that at 12Stone Church. Not perfect people, but honest and real people who are growing and maturing.
Integrity is about being who you say you are when no one is looking.
You just can’t put a price tag on that.
6) We are big into adaptability and little about tradition.
COVID didn’t introduce the need for adaptability into leadership of the local church, but it elevated it dramatically.
There is great pressure for churches to adapt to meet the current needs, but it’s also a great opportunity to meet culture where they need us most.
12Stone is running hard to adapt. Not change the mission or water down the Gospel message of Jesus, but recognizing that life is different, and we must adapt to reach people.
We don’t change who we are in Christ, but we will adapt to meet the needs of those who don’t know Jesus.
7) We are all about transformation and not about busyness.
Life change is the bottom line. That’s the greatest measure for all of our churches.
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.John 10:9-10
It’s so easy to get incredibly busy doing church work; as I write this I’m rushing to get to the next thing. But I can never forget that it’s about changing lives for eternity.
That’s why we do what we do.
That’s why you do what you do.
COVID continues to be a difficult season for all of us, but we need the church now more than ever. Each of us can choose to make our churches the best they possibly can be to bring peace and grace to our communities.
Give your church a positive shout out!