The local church is the heartbeat of Christianity. After just a simple reading of the book of Acts, most people should easily see that the Christian faith requires Christian community. Sunday mornings is by far not the only (or even the best) way to do this, but it’s the most common. We all have “our church” and we all have nits to pick about them, but we should love our churches. Here’s why I love mine.
My family and I attend Harbour Fellowship Church in St. Catharines Ontario, I’ve written about how to find a church before, and as I re-read that post when I was writing this one, I realized that Harbour meets all four of the criteria I was looking for. We are blessed, as a family to be a part of it. Let me share one reason I love Harbour.
This is a picture of a red balloon that I took with my phone in church a couple weeks ago.It’s nothing particularly special, as far as pictures of balloons are concerned. It’s not exactly a photographic masterpiece is what I’m saying. What it represents, though, and how we do it as a church is what I love.
The Bible teaches that there is “Joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10) Essentially that there is a party in Heaven when someone comes to faith in Jesus. That’s a great thing, and that’s what the balloon signifies. Since January of 2015, whenever a person comes to faith, we have a balloon up on the stage. Just a balloon, off to the side of the stage. There’s no pageantry to the tradition, no balloon-inflating ceremony; just the balloon. Those of us who know what it means, those of us who call Harbour home, usually smile when we see it because we know what it means. During the service, one of our pastors generally acknowledges it, explains the tradition and then we sing the chorus from a Kings Kaleidoscope song to the tune of Auld Lang Syne: “All glory be to Christ our king, All glory be to Christ! His rule and reign will ever sing, All glory be to Christ!” Boom, that’s it. I love the subtlety, I love that it’s not followed up with a shoehorned-in altar call. It’s just a thing we do, and I love it.
Not that everything is rosy, there are certainly things at Harbour that I would do differently given the opportunity, different music I’d play (Sorry Fraser!) and there are some things that when I first see them make me roll my eyes and think “Really? We’re going to do this?! It’s so cheesy.”
But that’s not the point, because I’m not the point. Those balloons are the point.Our preferences aren't the point, people are the point. Click To Tweet
The balloons represent people who come to faith and have new life in Christ as opposed to us “Church people” getting what we want and just being comfortable.
Love Your Church
No church is perfect. Not mine, and not yours. Perhaps that’s because churches are made up of people and people are definitely not perfect. We need to love our churches, cheesy lumps and all. We need to pray for our pastors and leaders. Serve the ministries we are gifted in and love those with whom we disagree. We need to do these things not because they make our churches look good (even though that’s true) and not even because it grows our character as Christians (even though that’s also true) but rather because we are ambassadors, witnesses for Jesus on this earth. Everything we do reflects Jesus to the people around us. We need to love our churches not because it benefits us or the church, rather because when we “look good” we make Jesus look glorious.