i do not love the church
Taken in 2014 at my first Hillsong conference

I see its flaws first. I note room for improvement in the worship sets. I meet people I'd rather not bump into. I hear repetitive platitudes. I sit impassively as people onscreen exhort, cajole, effusively encourage. I do not look left or right when seated.

My anger has long since cooled and turned into a muted indifference. I utter mirthless laughs. I keep my disillusions to myself. I feel deeply frustrated, yet unwilling to even attempt to deal with my inner turmoil.

I do not love the church. I do not think I hate it, but I've not been loving it for a very long time.

Perhaps one of the biggest faults of the faithful flock is our insistence that we are doing church right. We've sorted out a comfortable routine that has "church" pencilled in on a particular slot, and feel gratified that our quota has been fulfilled for the week once we've stepped through yon hallowed hallway.

Today, however, that one thought struck me while I was in the shower. Just a simple line, but so heavy and revealing nonetheless.

I've "done church" since I was in my teens. I've served in the choir ministry for years, carved out time to help run youth and young adult camps and helped to lead a cell group... but this confounding statement pretty much says otherwise, doesn't it.

And there I was thinking I had been doing a good job of being a believer for the most part of my life. But today He reminded me of my flaws, my prejudices, my self-aggrandising thoughts.

If a broken, unworthy person like me could be loved so fully by God, how much more does He love a flawed church?

As Ephesians 5:29-30 (ESV) puts it: “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of His body.”

My "solution", if you will, to the state-of-the-heart situation I've laid out above, is not to turn away or pretend these pesky problems don't exist. (Truthfully, I've done a bit of both and neither have really worked out).

What I think are steps in the right direction: To want to change. To want to see the church for the good it's doing. To want to feel alive again when worshipping or listening to a sermon. To want to build community. To want to give - time, money, resources, talent and whatnot.

I've got a long way to go, but I know I'm on the right track.