There is no ideal church on earth. Churches are made up of and led by mere humans, finite and fallen. People are broken. You are broken. And this brokenness can lead to messiness and hurt. But Jesus has a great promise for us in the midst of local-church madness.
Many worship leaders consider themselves artists. Translation: We are typically passionate, idealistic, opinionated, and sensitive.
We have specific ideas about how things should go and can let those preferences affect us deeply when things don’t go the way we hoped they would. While our convictions and zeal can be some of our greatest strengths, they can also set us up for a constant stream of frustration and dissatisfaction with the church.
And the potential for frustration with the church is by no means limited to worship leaders.
No Ideal Church
There is no ideal church. Churches are made up of and led by mere humans, finite and fallen. People are broken. You are broken. And this brokenness can lead to messiness and hurt.
We all want to “arrive” at our ideal church, whether it’s in ministry or as members. The problem is that it doesn’t exist. There may be a honeymoon phase when you arrive at a church, but before long, the conflicts and complications will arise.
Our great hope is not that someday we will arrive in this life at that perfect, ideal church. No, God has something much greater in mind. He wants to use those imperfect people, places, and positions to sanctify you toward the perfect image of his Son.
When We Are Weak
Paul knew how frustrating life and ministry can be. In 2 Corinthians 11, he speaks of all that he is suffering for the name of Jesus and the sake of the gospel, and after writing of all his beatings, imprisonments, shipwrecks, and constant dangers, he says that he has to endure the “daily pressure of his anxiety for all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:28).
He recognized that it would be easy for him to boast in all the ways that God was using him. By all modern opinions, after all he had endured, he had certainly earned the right to settle into a comfortable position at one of the churches he had planted where he would be well thought of and well provided for.
And yet, he goes on to say that in spite of pleading with his Lord to stop the suffering, Jesus allowed it to continue in order to show the sufficiency of his grace and perfect his power in Paul’s weakness. Paul’s response is not to grumble and complain about it, but rather, he says,
I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9–10)