The Functioning Church of Dysfunctional People

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                  January 31, 2013

The church is a very unique people. It is not confined to a building, although most people still usually identify it as a building. It is not defined by its preaching, although proclamation is at the core of who it is. It conveys grace and forgiveness, and yet urges ongoing transformation.

The church also has an unsettling tension about it, for it seeks to minister to people who are dysfunctional in a variety of ways, but it needs functional people to keep it focused, effective, and missional. In other words, the church is about helping people get it together, and yet it requires people who have it together to keep it healthy.

It is true that we are all dysfunctional in some way. “Falling short” is a nice way of saying dysfunctional. My dysfunction might be one easily diagnosed, or it may very well be one that I keep hidden to myself. The dysfunction might be in fractured families or recovering addicts, but it could also be in my tendency to lust after money, sex, and power; or the bitterness in my spirit towards someone who has wronged me. All of us are dysfunctional in some way.

The church, however, is the only group of people besides AA that intentionally invites dysfunctional people to come and find healing, hope, peace, and purpose. And yet, if there are not “healed people” who are functioning well as a part of the church the result can be like a lifeboat whose passengers are all rowing in different directions. There is a lot of splashing going on, but no movement. There is a lot of “wanting” evident, but also increasing frustration.

It reminds me of the early church situation In Jerusalem where a certain group of widows were being excluded in the daily distribution of food (Acts 6:1-7). The first church adjusted and put seven men in place to make sure the function of providing for the women was taken care of. It presented itself as a possible major fracture in the church, based on a group’s culture, and the church restructured to make sure people in need were included.

People whose lives are in turmoil need a church that has people who have battled through the turmoil. And yet the church can not be so “all that”, as they say, that it conveys a sense of arrogance. It can’t convey messages like diet businesses do where they show the before and after pictures of its clients. Broken people need healing, but they will always be under construction.

Like I said, the church is a very unique people.

Explore posts in the same categories: Christianity, Community, Faith, Grace, Jesus, Story, Teamwork, The Church, Uncategorized

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