What does God think about church?
It’s a good question. I’ve thought a lot about it lately.
Early in my Christian life, I never asked that question. It never occurred to me. What mattered most to me was – what do I think about church? How do I see it? Predictably, my answer changed a lot, depending on my experience. Good experience with church – church is awesome! Let’s get involved! Bad experience with church – church sucks. Who needs it?
Which leads to another question – what do people around me think about church? Lots of people have opinions on church these days. Many are disappointed with the church. Some have simply walked away. Others are redefining church, experimenting with “home” church models. Some do sermon podcasts or a digital worship download and call it good.
OK. I get it.
Then, one day something happened in my heart: I started asking a different question. I began to wonder what God thinks about church. I’m not sure exactly why, or when this happened to me. I began to realize: what matters most is not what I think about the church, or what my friends think, or even the culture around me. What matters is God. How does God see it? It hit me like a load of bricks. What matters is God – his view, his heart, his opinion of the church. So, what is that?
My first impulse was simply to assume that God thinks/feels exactly like I do on the subject. End of discussion. Oh wow, I was right all along! Of course, it’s simple, God is smart. He and I see eye to eye!
But that won’t do.
So, I went on a personal quest. It’s been several years now. I’m still on the quest. I’m digging into God’s Word to find answers. I’m praying and thinking and talking to people who are on the same quest. We’re asking questions like this: What does God think about church? How does God see it? What would happen if we adjusted our own thinking? What would happen if we thought about church like God does? What would happen if we had God’s heart and vision for his church? What would that look like? What would it mean, in actual practice for us, in how we do church?
Over the next several months, at River West Church, we’ll be asking these questions together as a congregation. Our sermon series – Living Church – will fill in some of the answers. Our Community Groups will take the discussion further and help us move into the practices of a Living Church – which is another way of saying, “Church as God sees it.” Please join us in prayer and worship as we set out on this quest together. I am more convinced than ever that, right now in our lives and our world, nothing matters more.