I suppose every person could desire in their heart, whether or not they could put it in words, the kind of church they would want. The pastor's desire becomes important in that his influence is greatly felt in a church through his preaching, attendance at many meetings, articles in newsletters, and decisions that affect the life of a congregation. If the pastor does not have some influence on the congregation, then that church needs a different pastor, because God calls pastors, and every church needs one that can affect the life of that congregation. With that in mind, I want to express briefly, the kind of church I want.
I want to be involved with a church that looks to Jesus Christ as the final authority in every issue. I do not mean that I expect a church to be perfect. I know that we are only growing toward maturity in Christ, but I do want it settled in every heart that Jesus Christ is the final authority, that we look to him for our leadership and direction.
I want a church where the word of God is believed. There are too many things in the word of God that are absolutely essential to the spiritual welfare of man for us to dilly-dally in unbelief. I do not ask anyone to close their mind, but the basic problem as I see it when people fail to believe the word of God is that they may have an open mind, but they have a closed heart.
I believe that we should have complete openness to the word of God, that it will challenge the whole person to completeness of life. Many of the essential truths of the Bible are not intended for understanding but rather for believing. In greater knowledge our faith grows deeper when we are standing upon the assurance of believing faith.
I believe that people should have the right to experience the truth of the Bible. Window shopping is exciting, it whets an appetite for many new things, but it doesn't bring the joy of possession. Don't be just an onlooker in the eternal things of life; participate.
I want a church with common concern. If the pastor is the only one concerned about others, the church is so limited. As every person becomes concerned for those about them, the outreach of the church is unlimited. As we care, we share.
I want a church that projects warmth. Many people feel the coldness of the world about them. All of us need to feel accepted, loved, a part of a fellowship. Even when things go wrong, when people are wrong, they should not be rejected. I do not have to condone people's actions, but I do need to have an open heart toward them. This is very difficult sometime, but we all need to remember -- GOD IS PATIENT WITH US -- sometimes we need his help to be patient with others.
I want a church with dedication in the hearts of people, where the people believe that their lives truly count for God, that they do make a difference, not only in their church, but in the world about them as well.
I want a church with vision, that sees to the future with expectancy, with hope, with focus upon genuine things that can help affect the world about them for Christ.
Space fails me, but think about these things .-- is this the kind of church you want? What kind of church do you want? We can be what we are willing to be!