This is based on an article from Hal Seed (accessed here on February 13, 2014).
Hal Seed writes, “A quick read of the book of Acts or the letters in Revelation proves that Jesus loves his church. He died for it, prays for it, lives for it and is going to return for it.
[But] let’s be honest: It’s not easy to love the church. It’s easy to love Jesus. Loving His bride is another story. Churches are filled with frail and fault-riddled people. Every church has a unique personality. All are loved by Jesus, but not all are loved in equal measure by each of His people.”
I agree, loving Jesus is so much easier than loving His bride, the Church. But just like the love of a spouse in marriage, love of the church is more a choice than a feeling.
Based on Hall Seed’s ten reasons that he loves his church, I have ten reasons that I choose to love Jesus’ bride, the Church. They are in no particular order – this is not a ranked list. This week, reason number seven:
7. A unified staff.
Not every church has a unified staff, at least not 100% of the time. I understand that. This is more of a potential for the Church. I don’t have first-hand experience of a 100% unified staff.
But the potential is as real as it is important.
The potential is real because what unifies a staff is the Holy Spirit. God the Holy Spirit, working through Word and Sacrament, empowers a staff of a local congregation to find and carry out her vision of the Mission of the Church.
It is important that the staff of a local congregation be unified. Each church has the same Mission as every other church, given by Jesus Christ Himself, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20a). I love that the Church is unified in this mission!
But each local congregation of the Church is unique in how it carries out this Mission. (Find your church’s unique vision here).
Once a church recognizes their unique vision to carry out the Church’s Mission, a unified staff is vitally important.
I’ve been on church staffs where each person had the experience in that particular congregation of “doing their own thing.” They didn’t have a leader to draw them together and unify them in their unique vision.
They all knew the Mission of the Church, but they didn’t know the overall vision of their own congregation.
So they were all doing “what was right in their own eyes.” They were all going in their own directions. But what was worse, they were not communicating with each other what they were doing!
Finally, the staff recognized this. A leader was brought on board to unify the vision. They began to use their individual talents to carry out their church’s unique vision of the Mission. It was not easy. Some of the staff left. They couldn’t catch the vision of their church. That happens. It’s sad to say goodbye, but it happens (it even happened to St. Paul, you can read about it here).
When a staff is unified, it is a beautiful thing. There is joy. There is strength. Each builds each other up in the vision and Mission of the Church.
It is another reason I love my church.