We went to church yesterday at “Shelter Bible Church” in Fairbanks, Alaska. This is the church that our daughter Shelly and her family attend, and are involved in. Shelly’s husband, Philip led worship and one of the young Elders in the church preached on Psalms 89. It was a great time of meeting with the Lord and worshiping with different people. I have attended the worship services of many different churches in many different States and countries in the world over my lifetime. Based on a rough review in my mind of my travels I would guess I have been in the services of about 100 different churches. Some of them have been very large, with 1000’s of people in attendance in huge sanctuaries such as “Willow Creek” in Chicago, “North Point” in Georgia, and “Saddleback” in San Diego. Others have been very small, in fact in one church in Arizona when 6 of us on a bicycle trip walked into the service we literally doubled their attendance. These churches have been very different in many ways. One church in a country where Christians are very persecuted met in a home, with people coming about every 15 minutes so as not to draw attention to their meeting together. Everyone sat on the floor which was dirt in the dark, because there was no electricity and they didn’t want to open the shutters on the windows so people outside would not hear them. They spoke softly, song softly and I preached softly for 3 hours. Sometimes people in American churches will fuss and argue a bit about the best way to “do church” usually based on their own personal preferences. I have seen so many different kinds of churches, in so many different settings, doing things in so many different ways, and personally having a great experience with the Lord and His people in most of them, that I have come to the conclusion that most of what we fuss about doesn’t really matter much. One of the motto’s at our church, Jefferson Baptist, is that “God doesn’t bless methods, He blesses unity and love”.
Jesus loves the Church, gave His life for the Church, promises to build His Church, and is in the process of making her beautiful. The Church is the eternal “Bride of Christ”, the “Body of Christ”, and God’s method and tool of accomplishing His will in the world today, the Church is the only hope of the world. The world scoffs at the church and many believers do as well, but God is God, and what He says He will do, He will do, and what He loves, we ought to love as well. Part of my every morning prayer of commitment is, “I love Your Church, Lord Jesus, I love JBC, and I will do my part to build Your Church and to make her beautiful”.