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Friday, 11 December 2015

A Church damaged beyond repair?

This post is perhaps a little heavy... But unfortunately we, as a combined Church of God, are facing some very serious issues, which we all know. I have been thinking about this subject for a while and hopefully you'll appreciate my thoughts and opinion on this issue... I would love to hear others opinions on this, it's only by talking about and discovering our faults that we can face them and truly heal.

We are an ancient institution, founded 2000 years ago, as I'm sure we all know, since those early days we have picked up some strange traditions and quirks, divided ourselves into factions and in some cases become bitter enemies. We are fractured and hurting. The church today is so different to it's beginnings...and yet somehow very much the same.

We have become social activists, moral guardians and sometimes politicians; of course these can all be great and positive things; which have made us more diverse and effective. But have we, as the secular world would tell us, become irrelevant? Some would say we've passed our prime, that we're showing our age and perhaps it's time to put the old horse down... Not a chance! I say we're here because God ordained that we should be here, perhaps we have lost something of our identity, our place in the world, but don't dismiss that as irrelevancy or uselessness.

We are damaged, there is no getting away from that. we often fail, sometimes through genuine mistakes; sometimes through more sinister and deliberate actions. Sometimes we are stuck in the past; held back by intolerance and prejudice. Whatever it is, and in whichever way we fail, whether that be a large issue or seemingly inconsequential, we still fall short of God's glorious standard. We still risk damaging prospective disciples and, by our actions turn them away from Christ.

So how do we overcome these failures and challenges? How do we reach the lost without compromising our integrity or mission? How do we minister to a hurting world without diluting the gospel or pandering to societies 'don't ask, don't tell' attitude to religion?
Well I can't really answer that, or come up with some new secret formula or groundbreaking opinion; if it counts for anything is that our success lies in doing a really hard thing, perhaps too hard...we must learn to LISTEN;
listen to the gospel, to the cries of a world in need and most importantly to the heartbeat of God. Then everything else will become clear; maybe some will say that is a nonsense statement or impractical or just words, but I stand by it...I certainly don't know the answers to heal our broken Church and broken lives but I know someone who does...

Are we damaged? Have we fallen short, and worse fallen asleep? Do we fail? Are we fractured and waste time fighting each other? Unfortunately the answer to all those, is yes!

But are we finished? Are we beyond repair? Are we past our best? Should we just give up and disappear into the night?
Never! We believe in a God of second and third chances, a God of redemption, a God of healing and a God who takes the damaged and the broken and the hurting and calls us His friends...

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