What makes a church a great church? Is it the songs, word, building, or as they would say in a questionnaire, ‘other‘?
What makes the place of worship you go to so special that you would say to someone else that our church is a great church?
Here is an illustration that I think helps to answer this question.
A new Pastor in a small Oklahoma town spent the first four days making personal visits to each of the members, inviting them to come to his first service. The following Sunday the church was all but empty, so the Pastor placed a notice in the local newspapers stating that because the church was dead it was everyone’s duty to give it a decent Christian burial. The funeral would be held the following Sunday afternoon. Well, a curious, large crowd turned out for the “funeral.” In front of the pulpit, they saw a closed coffin, smothered in flowers. After the Pastor delivered the eulogy, he opened the coffin and invited his congregation to come forward and pay their final respects to their dead church. Filled with curiosity as to what would represent the corpse of a “dead church,” all the people eagerly lined up to look in the coffin. Each “mourner” peeped into the coffin then quickly turned away with a guilty, sheepish look. In the coffin, tilted at the correct angle, was a large mirror.
Hope you have got it? For me, it is people who make the church a great church, not quantity either, but quality. You see I believe a church cannot do everything people might expect. We are all governed by circumstances, finances etc but there are certain things I believe a church can do. Below is a list. Do you agree? Indulge me by at least looking at the list below and ask does my church excel in these?
- A church that encourages your heart.
- A church that is united in love.
- A church with a commitment to truth.
- A church that lifts up Jesus.
- A church that is consistent.
Let me give you the first two and perhaps we can come back to the rest at a future time.
1 A church that comforts (encourages your heart).
Paul’s first longing for the church in Colossians was “that their hearts (people) may be encouraged.” It literally means ‘to call alongside’. An example is getting alongside one to help shift a heavy load. They needed encouragement and don’t we all. Does your church do that?
2 Together in love.
Paul explains how this encouragement is to take place. We live in a day in which individualism is admired, charting your own course, doing your own thing, not needing anyone else. But that is not the Christian way! Paul explains that the encouragement needed by the Colossians was going to come through their relationships with one another in the church. The foundation of it was that they had been knit together in love. It is referring to an ongoing relationship with each other. Integrate not Isolate (no one-man bands!)
Finally, look at the checklist below and tick if your church does this.
- We treasure each other
- We spotlight gifts and abilities rather than faults and failures
- We truly celebrate the gifts and blessings of others without feeling resentment
- We rally around each other in times of sadness and loss
- We allow people to have “bad days”
- We are quick to forgive
- We act in kindness toward each other
- We defend each other
- We are willing to do things differently than we would necessarily choose…for the honour of Christ
Stay safe and Blessed