What is the Church?
By: Laura Sandretti
What is the church to you? A building? A denomination? Hypocrites? Kind people? Weak people? People who think they are perfect, who enforce, follow, and/or break rules?
I am learning that church is all of these things and more. Church is a complicated mix of good and bad, light and dark, love and hate. I know this about the church not because I work at a church, am a member at a church, or because I am in seminary. I know because I am the church.
My day begins with prayer on the treadmill. I ask God to help me be a better wife, then I criticize my husband about something petty. I ask God to help me be a more patient and wise mom, and by end of the day I have a mothering regret and an apology to make. I’ll text my BFF a happy, kissy, heart-filled emoji, and then I’ll give a look of condescending disgust to the lady driving slowly in the fast lane. I sometimes gossip, sometimes hate, and I often lose my temper. I am the church.
I love Jesus. I pray for my favorite barista at Starbucks because she’s awesome. I give of my time, talents, and resources. I recently prayed with my family for someone who is bullying one of my kids (while revealing that my heart was not in it). I told my children that following Jesus means obeying God’s Word even when it’s hard. I am learning to have more humility and demonstrate more discernment—very slowly and imperfectly. I am the church.
Church is people like me. Flawed, trying-hard, Jesus-loving people who need a lot of grace, love, and prayer. If we want it to appear different, less hypocritical, and more like Jesus, there is only one thing to do. Let God’s Spirit do His work in us and in those around us.
We are accountable to God. Responsible for dying to self, being open to his teaching, accepting His mercies. We will all meet Him face to face, and will have to answer for our attitudes, behaviors, and the work we did for the kingdom.
We are the church.
Laura Sandretti is a Just Between Us contributing author and an active speaker and blogger. Additionally, she is a former public school teacher, women’s ministry director, and has a master’s degree in Theological Studies at Trinity University. Laura and her husband have three teenagers, and live in Sussex, Wisconsin.