This post is part of a short series based on Jeremy Myer’s (from “Till He Comes“) book project “Finding Church.” Jeremy asked for contributions in the categories of Changing Church, Leaving Church, Reforming Church, and Returning to Church. As I worked through my own contribution, I realized that my story could fit into any of the categories. So, I’m writing a post based on each category.
This post describes my experience “reforming church.” This is the topic that I wrote about, and perhaps Jeremy will decide to use my submission. (This post is not my submission, but some thoughts about this topic.) This is how Jeremy describes this category: “Though many people have painful experiences in church, some people choose to stay at their church and try to work through them, reforming the church from the inside, and being the change they want to see. These are their stories.”
As usual, I have to put my own spin on this topic. As I’ve already explained in my previous two posts in this series (“changing church” and “leaving church“), church is not a building, or organization, or event, or hierarchical leadership. Church is the people of God – the body of Christ – the temple of the Holy Spirit – gathered together.
So, did I write about this topic because it is my goal to reform organizations or institutions? Absolutely not. Like I said, those things are not the church. If the organizations change to better facilitate the church (the people) involved, that’s fine. But that’s not my purpose, and it’s not the type of reform that I’m interested in.
What can of reform am I interested in? The kind of reform that Paul writes about in Ephesians 4 when he says that the entire body of Christ works together so that the body builds itself up in love – this is reforming the church. It’s the kind of reform that he also wrote about in Colossians 3 when he said that as we all teach and admonish one another as the word of Christ dwells in us all – this is reforming the church.
I’m interested in the kind of reform that Peter wrote about in 1 Peter 4 when he says that we speak to one another and serve one another in order to glorify God – this is reforming the church. I’m talking about the kind of reform that we read about in Hebrews 10 when the author exhorts his readers to consider how to stir up love and good works in one another – this is reforming the church.
This kind of reform is a mutual work as God works through each of his children to help each other grow and mature and love and hope and trust and serve and speak. This is the kind of mutual church reform I’m interested in.
Have you experienced this kind of church reform?