I love our church. I was speaking with some of our guests from this past Sunday and they all doted over the warm welcome they received from our church family. Those are the kind of reports that make a pastor smile. As a matter of fact, I love the Church. I love the concept. I love the principle behind the Church. I love the Designer of the Church. I don’t love the problems in the Church. I don’t love the sin that has ruined so many of our churches. I don’t love the politics in the Church. I don’t love the laziness or the apathy of our churches. But I can say wholeheartedly that I love this Bride that Christ has established.
I think one of the reasons I love this Entity so much is the concept of family that is built into the DNA of the church. I come from a small family. I am an only child, and I am the only grandchild on my father’s side. Glad I had two boys – otherwise my Carroll line stopped with me! As a child, going to Grandma’s house meant no cousins, no kids, no fun (other than with the grownups – which is a different kind of fun). To be honest, that was kind a lonely place to be.
That’s the beautiful thing about the Church – no matter what the makeup of your biological family, there is always the Church. There are older saints who have the wisdom of a parent or grandparent. There are peers who are in the same situation you are in. And there are even children who are hungry for mentoring and teaching. Don’t forget that there is a Father from whom we get our name and every good thing we know as a family.
Like all families, it is often far from perfect – but the church is established with mechanisms to correct imperfections. Mechanisms like repentance, forgiveness, love, and leadership are all put in place to make this family function well. If someone in the family sins, then we have repentance and forgiveness to help overcome that sin. Somebody in the family falls on tough times; we have love and compassion to help them through that difficult hour. The family goes through a new or difficult challenge; we have leadership built right in to help bring the family through those choppy waters.
And when I think of the genius that is the Church – I have to consider the Church’s Founder. In Mark 3:31-35, Jesus began laying the foundation for this new Family. He said that his mother, his brothers, his sisters were those who did the will of God. This means that our family connection is through Jesus Christ. And I think this is why I get so upset when people do things that disrupt this gathering. They’re not just disrupting a social club – they’re messing with Jesus’ family.
Our family has the privilege of selecting brothers who will help fill that mechanism of leadership next week. Every year we have the responsibility of selecting deacons. But this year I want you to think carefully about the responsibility of leading your family. This is not so much an election as it is picking one of Jesus’ brothers to help make our church, our family, the most effective at accomplishing our Father’s will. It’s not about popularity or face time. It really isn’t about politics. It’s all about our Father and our family.
Let’s say you needed help with your biological family and you wanted to bring someone in to help in the day to day life of your family. Would you think carefully about that person? Would you pray diligently for that person? Treat the deacon election with the same level of seriousness.