I got an email from someone I know today who has visited the church I pastor but is still looking for a local body to connect with. Great guy, theologically thoughtful, concerned about the right things. I asked in an email if he has found a local church yet, and he said he found three imperfect ones that if the good parts were combined (worship style, preaching, elders, passion) would become the "perfect church."
I know what my friend is talking about. So many times in my years as a Christian I have wished to find the right combination in a local community of believers, and every time I've been disappointed. So I don't fault what he said; I've said the same before. But it did strike me that we all might be looking for the wrong things in this elusive "perfect church."
I made this statement in reply to his ideal church cocktail...
The perfect church is the one that you truly lay 100% of your life and heart down to serve through.
The longer I thought about that sentence, the more I liked it. I think it's that simple. Sure, let's make sure they confess that the historic truths are really true, and that they know the mission we are on in the world, and all that. But then just find the closest one and invest every ounce of yourself to living the mission in your neighborhood.
Maybe the "perfect church" is closer than we think. It's the imperfect group of people down the street who gather to give and serve and worship and grow, and then work redemption all around them all week long. And everytime an imperfect person joins up with them, they are even more perfect.