I received a call several years ago and the caller told me they were looking for the perfect church.  I wished them luck and asked if they found it would they please call me back.  When they asked me why I responded that way, I told them that this church is not perfect, nor do I ever expect it to be.  It was perfect once.  Then people started coming (including myself), and from that moment, “perfect” went out the window.

I admire people who come to small, struggling churches (like ours).  For the most part, these folks are interested not in what they will get out of the church, but rather what they can do for the church.  These are the people who understand church is not about them, it’s about others – both inside and especially outside the church.  They understand that growing closer to God requires serving others.  When folks leave us, I usually recommend they find a similar church, so they can help build it up.

To be fair, not everyone should be active in ministry (does that sound like a contradiction?).  Some need to take a temporary break from ministry.  Leading a ministry is tough and not for cowards.  I know an awful lot of folks who used to be pastors and leaders who are not any longer because they got so beat up they were not able to continue.  For newer believers, they need to learn about God and how He has a plan for their lives and how He has gifted them before they can effectively use those gifts and calling.  Once they begin to understand the importance of being active, they can be steered into an appropriate ministry setting.  There they can flourish and their gifts increase and (best of all) others will be blessed.

None of this leads to perfection by the way.  That is where grace comes in.  We have to be free to fail.  We need people who will help us back on our feet, to see where we failed, why we failed and what to do so we do not make the same mistake (we can make different ones!).  Those people (the quicker picker uppers) are acting according to their gifts and are doing exactly what God would do if He were here.

Oh yeah, He is!