I Love Messy Churches
Messy churches? Why would anyone love a messy church? You mean the carpet stains where all the kids eat their breakfast and spill their juice? No, I'm not talking about our building, I'm talking about the people.
Loving a messy church is about a church that's full of saved people who don't pretend to have it all together. I'm a sinner doing life with a bunch of sinners with real life problems. Issues like addiction, disease, abuse, pornography, marital stress, debt, stretched budgets, brokeness, unforgiveness, and others. Those are real issues that really get prayed about in my office during the week. Those issues are messy. And just to be clear: I'm not grateful that we all deal with these messy issues, I'm grateful that this is a safe place to deal with those issues.
There's often a temptation in church subcultures to pretend that everything is okay. It can even be tempting to deceive others within the church, leading them to believe that everything is great. But this attitude misses the point. The goal of the church is to help people become more like Jesus Christ (called "sanctification"). And you can't help people become more like Jesus if they feel pressured to have it all together. No, people need a safe place and safe people who love them to help them experience victory and transformation through the resources available through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I'm a mess and the people who attend this church are a mess. Collectively, we're a messy bunch. But the reason we gather is not to celebrate our messes. We gather because we serve a God who loves us and redeems our messy lives to demonstrate His love and kindness. His grace and patience and mercy is on display everyday in the lives of those who worship here. We gather, not to celebrate us, but to worship and celebrate Jesus, who saved us from our sins and ourselves.
(In cased you missed it, Tim Challies wrote a great post about messy churches which inspired this post)