Only a church full of imperfect people, acting as his body, can bring hope and healing needed to change our postmodern world for the better – one life at a time. --- John Burke, No Perfect People Allowed, page 9
Literally I have found that doing and being the church can be very messy. But what a blessed mess it is. As a pastor I get to meet and deal with lots of people and in many different situations. Some of the things I get to experience are celebrations such as a baby being born or a wedding, but I also have to deal with severe sickness, damaged lives and relationships as well as death.
Every one of these people are important to our God. He died for us and for them. In all of life’s pain and celebration God is with us and for us. We are His children. We are His family. Nothing can change that fact.
Yet it is often the people of the church that are known for hurting each other and for fighting within. That is not a great thing to be known for. We ought to be known as the people who care for each other, show up with things get rough and support each other no matter what.
Our church, possibly like your church, is full of people with lots of big needs. These people have experienced great pain and hurt. As Rick Warren said and I heard years ago, “God never wastes a hurt.” God can take the pain and the celebrations we have experienced in life and use them to encourage, help and challenge others that we share with.
Several years ago I read the book that John Burke wrote titles No Perfect People, and I know all of us need a reminder from time to time of why we are part of the church. We also need to be reminded that we are called to do what Jesus did. Jesus loved the church, that is us, and died for us. That means Jesus loves all people, even the messy ones.
When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law. 21 When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ. 22 When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. 23 I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.
We have an incredible task to love people and to let them know what God can and will do in and through their lives. Another even greater truth is the fact that the people in our churches are our secret weapon.
Those who are messy are not there so we can push them aside or for us to wait on them to get cleaned up. No, these special people are our family and deserve our love, acceptance and help. I have seen some pretty incredible things in time as a pastor, but it never gets old to watch God change a person’s life!
Did you know that you matter to God? You are important to God. He wants to bless you and use you to bless others. Look at the verse above. It was written by the Apostle Paul, and it is a word for you and me. Wherever we find ourselves we are to be a messenger of God’s love.
The church must be prepared to struggle with brokenness…if you are going to minister to emerging generations, you must create a culture where broken people are welcome and healing happens. --- John Burke, No Perfect People Allowed, page 44
We have chosen to be a part of a group of people that are very different. Some have money and some do not. Some are older and some are younger. Some have been in prison or have had cancer or lost a child or gone through divorce or have lied or… You fill it in.
It is so important that we chose to be part of a place where healing happens, but real healing only begins as we get honest about ourselves, accept others and allow God’s love to transform our lives and transform others through us.