32 Random Thoughts about the Local Church

32 Random Thoughts about the Local Church

It is far better to arrive at church each week as a worshipper than a critic. It is far better to determine you will seek out and enjoy whatever good you can find in the church than to identify and nitpick every weakness. It will be better for you and better for everyone else if you come to worship eager to enjoy every blessing.

Every now and again I jot down a thought that I’d like to ponder but that I don’t intend to tease out into an article. After all, not every idea is worthy of a full-length treatment. Hence, today I’ve got a long list of brief, random (and unsolicited) observations and pieces of advice related to the local church. I hope there is something here that benefits you.

You are a contributor to your church’s strengths and weaknesses. Your giftedness makes your church stronger and your sins and weaknesses make it weaker. Whenever you are tempted to grumble about your church, you need to remember that even if you can be part of a solution, you are also part of the problems. Be humble.

It’s no cliché that Sunday morning begins on Saturday evening. Your experience of church will be much different if you stay up late watching movies you shouldn’t be watching versus if you go to bed at a reasonable time after refraining from sinful behavior. If you want to get the greatest benefit from the worship services, you need to plan ahead.

There are no perfect churches. Every church has its unique collection of strengths and weaknesses. Though it can often look attractive to leave a church because of its weaknesses, the new church will have plenty of its own. Count the cost before moving on.

One of the best compliments that can be paid to a Christian is this: You are a good churchman.

Make it your habit to pray through the membership directory. You cannot help but come to love people as you pray for them. It’s also a great way to get to know names and faces (not to mention to the names and faces of children).

It is very common—but rarely a good idea—to change churches amid a personal crisis or immediately following one. In times of great difficulty, it is usually best to allow the local church to be a source of stability. It’s wise to distrust yourself in your most difficult times. Stay put for now and only consider moving when life has stabilized.

If and when it does come time to leave a church, leave it well. Most of the time that will involve seeking counsel and affirmation from trusted people, notifying the elders well in advance, expressing your gratitude to them, and then leaving without taking anyone else with you and without undermining other people’s confidence in their leaders.

One unheralded ministry in the church is the ministry of arriving early. In many churches, it is often guests who arrive first and they can feel awkward if they are alone. Those who get there early have the opportunity to serve in welcoming newcomers and engaging them in conversation. Conversely, those who continually show up late miss out on many opportunities to serve others.

Another unheralded ministry is the ministry of singing loud. Our culture doesn’t really know what to do with singing and few people have been trained to sing well and confidently. If you have a good voice and know how to use it, you can bless the people around you by singing out your praises in as loud a voice as is appropriate.

Far too many Christians move from one city to another without first ensuring there is a good church in the new location. Always make sure you are caring for yourself and your family by identifying sound churches in your new place.

Few people want to be part of a church that doesn’t pray, but few people want to attend a prayer meeting. You should ponder this conundrum.

The Lord’s Supper is for sinners, not perfect people. If you come to church deep in a sin that you have no intention of giving up, you would do well to refrain from participating in the Lord’s Supper.

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