We live in an age when church-bashing and religion-bashing seems at an all-time high. Yet at the same time, attraction to Jesus is growing. Who hasn’t heard the refrain, “I like Jesus, but I can do without the church”?
What we say or do in response—those of us who love and serve the church (and who, in many cases, find our life’s calling there)? Do we really even know what makes Jesus’ bride beautiful, or is it possible that we are simply perpetuating a tradition?
I first passed through the doors of a church while an infant in my mother’s arms. Then, I came to faith in Christ at age 7, but it was in high school that I decided to really serve Him.
So as an insider—someone who cannot begin to count the number of times I’ve seen the beauty of the gathered body of Christ—I admit that I don’t always understand why people denigrate the church. For that reason, I need to ask questions and listen, to try to understand someone else’s perspective before I would ever begin to speak to their frustration, disappointment, anger or apathy.
I trust that the articles in this issue gave you pause to think about your relationship with the church, your appreciation for her beauty and how you help portray her to a watching world.