Today, I am so excited to share a guest post with you from Marian Jordan Ellis of Redeemed Girl Ministries. I read this post, “Don’t Date the Church” and thought it was so good, I asked her if I could share it with my friends. This is one you’re going to want to pass on.
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine dated a guy who —out of the blue— bailed on their relationship. Fun coffee dates and long romantic talks resulted in an awkward silence. After a frank conversation about his distance, she learned that he held a listof the perfect woman in his mind— and she didn’t quite measure up.
Soon we discovered this was a pattern in his life. Countless beautiful, Jesus-loving women had failed his perfection test and thus he remained alone. The issue wasn’t with my friend, but with his inability to commit. His unrealistic expectations left him always assuming the grass was proverbial greener. While the problem of commit-phobic men could be a blog all by itself, I’m not here today to pick on my brothers in Christ. I do, however, want to acknowledge how all of us, can from time to time, do the same thing with the church.
Sometimes, Christ followers can act like the guy who is waiting for the perfect girl. We will “date” the church instead of faithfully committing our lives. We hop from one service to another, taking good teaching from one place and incredible worship from the another, without committing our selves to love, give, and serve alongside a community of believers. Joshua Harris defines the problem this way:
Most essentially a church dater tends to be critical. We are short on allegiance and quick to find fault in our church. We treat the church with a consumer mentality—looking for the best product for the price of our Sunday morning. As a result, we’re fickle and not invested for the long-term, like a lover with a wandering eye, always on the hunt for something better.
— Joshua Harris, Stop Dating the Church
The problem with this “consumer mentality” is that it flies in the face of the true meaning of the church. Instead of consumers, we are called to be givers. Givers of our time, resources, life and love. The church is not a building or a worship service, it is people. A group of people called out of darkness and who live as Christ’s ambassadors. We go to the buildings, services and events to worship, serve and give… not to be served. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but we so often miss out on the great and glorious work God wants to do in and through us when we don’t commit.
Ironically, it is when we give of ourselves, truly investing in the life of others, that we find life and discover the joy of Jesus.
Anyone who’s ever dated has either heard or said the following words: “It’s not you, it’s me.” This is the all-time classic break up line. But in the case of dating the church we must flip this cliché, “It is about you, and it is about me.” What my oh-so-clever play on words is meant to convey is that you are the church and we are the church.
We are the Body of Christ and we are meant to be together.
3 Reasons You Should Commit to a Church
1. You are the church.
Listening to a podcast or reading a book by your favorite preacher does not substitute for the role God has called you to play in this world.
Your active involvement in your local church enables you to use your gifts and talents for the glory of God. If you find something missing in your local church or have a compliant, maybe God wants to use you to be the solution. Don’t be acritic, be the change. Your spiritual gifts matter and God works through all of us as we get involved.
2. We need a squad.
The Christian life is meant to be experienced within community. We need each other. Read my last post, Better Together, to understand how community meets our deepest needs.
3. We are transformed together.
We are transformed more into the image of Christ as we engage in relationship with other Christians. All too often people bail out when a conflict arises in a group or when disappointed with a leader instead of following the Biblical guidelines of forgiveness, repentance and restitution. It is only within a committed body of Believers that we are confronted with our junk and the messiness of others that requires us to mature.
When we run away we times get messy then we miss out on the beautiful maturing that God wants to do in us and in others.
Friends, I pray you would prayerfully seek where the Spirit of God would have you invest your life and serve. Find a local body of Believers and make a commitment!
Marian Jordan Ellis is a Bible teacher, evangelist and the founder of
Redeemed Girl Ministries. Her powerful testimony of coming to
brokenness and emptiness and her dynamic account of the grace of
Jesus permeate all of her writings and speaking engagements.
Whole in Christ and ready to tell any ear that will listen, Marian has a passion for women to discover the abundant life in Jesus. She is the author of six books: Sex and The City Uncovered, Wilderness Skills for Women, The List, Radiant, The Girlfriends Guidebook and Sex and the Single Christian Girl. She is a graduate of SouthwesternBaptist Theological Seminary.
When Marian isn’t writing or on the road traveling to women’s events, she loves cooking, spending time with friends, horseback riding and all things HGTV. Today, Marian lives in San Antonio with Justin, their two boys and one very spoiled dog.