I can honestly say, as cliché as it sounds, that I would be nowhere near where I am today without my church.
My involvement within the past 10 years has been a tremendous eye-opener for so many crucial situations. My friendships, family and faith would be completely different if not for my home, my church building.
I learned about who I am, and found the greatest relationships in friends, family and in God.
I will forever be grateful for the opportunities and love that I experienced from a church so great.
I am completely humbled and blessed to have been considered a member of an institution in which Christ is the center. As many have said before, I feel at home when I am at church.
I feel as though that is where I can completely and vulnerably be myself. As important as learning about God is, it is even more important to understand how God works and how he can and will work in your life. In that sense, the greatness of a church comes from the people, not from the place.
Many don’t agree with me. Many have not had the same experience. Many have been hurt so badly by the church that they want nothing to do with it.
They want no part in whatever hurt filled words and actions they have received there in the past. They want no part of a place that seems to hold so much judgement and brings up so much pain. But what is a church really? The building? The structure in which people come together to worship an almighty being?
“Why is the church so quick to judge?” many ask. But you who feel judged by the church are automatically doing just that, judging all other churches and people involved.
Maybe your problems with the church don’t lie with all institutions or with all people, but with specific places, persons and instances. Maybe there is a way to be made new, to forgive and forget, even when it seems impossible.
There is so much hurt within this world, within this life, within our beings. Replace the hurt with love. Wouldn’t that be a miraculous sight to see? The amount of hurt that so many feel from the church is unfathomable, but even more unfathomable than that is the amount of hate that people feel in return.
What if we changed? What if we transformed and renewed what we deem to be broken?
Instead of sitting around and complaining about a place and about people who impacted you negatively, what if we did something about it?
I believe the church is the people. The believers that worship God with the Holy Spirit filling their hearts, spreading the good news and love to the world.
We, as believers, as non-believers, as humans, need to learn to love, to serve and to make a difference.
What does hating the church do? Does it make a difference? Does it change anything?
So many have scars that are too deep, broken beings that seem too far gone to repair. As much as people have a problem with a church, there are so many that have found amazingly intimate relationships with God and with people through the church.
Don’t forget about the good that comes from something that may seem bad.
For those who love the church, don’t forget about the hurt that has been done to some, the brokenness that exists, the pain that is hard to escape from. Don’t be naive; be open.
Your brokenness is welcome. You are welcome. The church doesn’t need complaints—it needs action. It needs revival. It needs renewal. What are we going to do about it?
I believe that we are the church. In the ways that we worship, love and give praise.
As a community, and as individuals throughout years, within days.
With a roof over our heads and walls surrounding, or within the open air, creation abounding.
I believe that the church is embodied within the proclamations that are preached.
Within the prayers and the praises, sufferings and healings that are reached.
I believe faith resides in the church.
Most importantly, as people are tested by God, but also in the ways that Christ is searched.
As love is spread and salvation proclaimed, grace given, as Christians are no longer ashamed. The church is upstanding, high on a hill. In every way, shape, and form, Christ has come to fill. Within every heart that is burdened, the gospel rings true.
I know of the church, because the church is you.
Hannah is a junior English major from Greenwood, Indiana.