A Church Afraid of Brokenness

Posted on June 5, 2015 | 3 comments

Courtesy Scott Maxwell, flickr.com

Courtesy Scott Maxwell, flickr.com

There has been controversy surrounding a large, corporate, mega-church in the news. I first became aware of it upon seeing this tweet in my timeline:

Curious, I read a few articles to catch up. If you are not familiar with what has been happening at The Village Church and want to be simply Google “the village church apology” and you too can get caught up. But doing that is not necessary for where this post is going.

So I replies with a tweet of my own (please excuse my typos):

It indeed would have been a breath of fresh air to see a church own up to its mistakes before they became a national issue.

But that seems to be the business-like environment prominent in our church culture.

Jesus is the product to be sold. In order to show the product works, there needs to be more and more ‘fixed’ people.

This in turn creates a church that does not know what to do with the reality of brokenness.

We are broken image bearers of our Creator. While we are being sanctified in Christ our old nature and new nature do battle (see Gal 5:17).

One of our most beloved hymns declares this truth…

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;

When the church does not understand that the spiritual life will have steps forward and steps back, the result is…

A community that lacks grace. Weakness means you are not following Jesus properly.

A leadership that lacks humility. Unable to acknowledge their own weakness.

Spiritual lives measured by performance.

Forgiveness that is conditional.

Followers that become disillusioned. Either by the fact that following Jesus is ‘not working’ because they still struggle, or that their leaders make mistakes.

To grow spiritually, we must develop awareness of our weaknesses. Then we can apply the truth of Christ.

To grow spiritually, we deepen our understanding of what we cling to as substitute for God. Then we can let go and cling to Christ.

Then we will be able to show compassion and love to our neighbors. In our weakness, Christ gets to shine as our strength.

From there, people will see and want Christ, not us or our behavior. The former will never fail, the latter will because we are broken image bearers living in a broken world system.

This applies to church leaders as well as congregants. Together we are all followers of Christ.

How has the modern corporate culture seeped into your church and/or spiritual life?

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I work with followers of Christ to energize discipleship, improve relationships, decrease anxiety and facilitate leadership development. I am a certified coach specializing in pastoral leadership, relationships, discipleship, life transitions, and Christian identity. Also, I am the author of the forthcoming book Discovering Your Root: Developing Your Identity in Christ.

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3 Comments

  1. We are all human and make mistakes. And the church is made up of people. And I need Christ because I’m a sinner. Thanks for sharing. Visiting from Missional Women

  2. My husband read your blog post the other day, Scott (he does regularly) and told me what you Tweeted. Gary has been aware of and kept up with this ongoing story about the Village church’s policies and their apology as well. It intrigues us because we are in a very corporate culture at our church, with grace and authenticity often pushed aside for a bigger, faster, better mentality. And I agree that it would have been so much better that they come out with this admission before it hit the news. It seems a bit suspect. But Gary has read to me the statement they’ve made and I must say it sounds humble, vulnerable and broken. They didn’t have to admit to the things they did quite so deeply. They could have spun it, as has been the case here at our church. So for the bit of Christ-like humbleness they did show, I’m grateful. Maybe more churches will follow suit! It’s the area where Satan is working his hardest and best to defeat us! Thanks for the challenge to be the love of Christ to a “broken people and world.”

    • Hey Beth, good to hear from you! I read through the apology, and my desire is not to drag anyone through the mud because I realize we are all broken in our behaviors, decisions, and ways of relating. My one hangup with their apology was that it did not seem to be an apology for or awareness of their wrong doing, but rather an apology for not being more effective.

      I hope I’m wrong, and since I’m just an outside observer, I probably am and I genuinely hope that there is reconciliation among all parties so Christ can be represented well by his body.

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