Even strong believers don’t have all the answers about Christ and the church. Many of us were taught certain lies in the church or by church culture. Buying into these falsehoods can separate us from God and lose sight of what church is all about. Holding onto these lies can be more detrimental than we realize. Here are six lies about the Christian church.
Lie #1: You have to have a certain personality to fit in.
Many people have preconceived notions about what the Christian church is based on how they were brought up, previous experiences or how the church has been depicted to them. One of those ideas is you have to have a certain personality to be welcomed in church and fit in with the culture. The truth is, it doesn’t matter if you’re more introverted or extroverted. There is a place for you in the body of Christ. Your unique qualities can make you the perfect fit for various roles in the church. As God’s people, we are in a church community with each other. You don’t have to have a certain personality to be welcomed in the church.
Lie #2: The pastor runs everything.
There is a notion that the pastor runs everything in the church or that he should run everything. This is an old model and not reflective of what members of a body look like. When we look at the church’s history, we see that strong leaders and elders led the church. Never once did we see a church run by one single person. Your pastor’s role is to provide spiritual leadership to church members, but it isn’t to run or control everything. Be on guard for pastors who want to control too much. This could mean that he is more focused on selfish interests than he is on the gospel.
Lie #3: You can’t have tattoos and piercings to be welcomed into the church.
Tattoos and piercings are almost mainstream in today’s world, which means Christians and non-believers have them. Many Christians who are pierced or inked up have felt rejected from the church because they were told their bodies represented sin. As Christians, we are called to welcome, not condemn. The gospel reaches those with full sleeves of ink and a face full of piercings, just like it would the church elder. Sometimes, the gospel may even reach that person more profoundly. We should have more members in the church with tattoos and piercings. Remember, the gospel is transformative. We should be focused less on what happened yesterday and more focused on what we can become today. Tattoos and piercings don’t equate with evil, even when certain people in our culture say they do. Those with tattoos and piercings often bring a wealth of experiences and testimony that are valuable to the church. They also reach others who feel like they can’t come to church if they don’t look a certain way. People with tattoos and piercings have a place in the church.
Lie #4: A good church service is measured by how much people enjoy it.
Many people church shop and church hop. They want to make sure they get everything they want to out of a church. Sometimes, that means looking for a church that wows them with a minister whose sermon blows them out the water. The truth is, church Isn’t about how much you enjoyed the church service, but about how much you enjoy Jesus Christ. The Christian church isn’t about us. Yes, we make up the body of Christ and serve an important role, but that doesn’t mean the focus should be on us. It should always be on Jesus. Don’t cut yourself off from a church when you don’t hear a certain style of music, or you’re not excited after every message or Sunday School class. If you place your desire in these areas, you may leave disappointed. Our goal as Christians should always be to go deeper and beyond these things.
Lie #5: A church is measured by the quality of its congregation.
Often, people think that the Christian church is measured by the quality of its congregation, which means every member in it. The church is measured by the commitment of Jesus Christ, who is at the head of the church. We don’t go to church to earn our way into the kingdom. Our outward goodness and attendance don’t make us better than the next. We should participate in the church because we are called to do so. Remember, the church isn’t about being good Christians, but about Christians being in community and growing together in Christ. Some churches will tell members they aren’t doing enough and need to do better. This is not God’s vision for the church. It’s also essential that churchgoers aren’t left with the false confidence in their goodness. Any church that puts entertainment or legalism ahead of the gospel has denied it altogether.
Lie #6: The church is only for believers.
When we think of the church body or our congregation, we think about believers who see Jesus in the same way we do. These are people we are comfortable being around, who share similar beliefs that we can connect with. If you think that the church is only for Christians, you are missing a central part of the gospel. Jesus says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). Believing that only Christians belong means you are missing a significant part of God’s transformative word. Remember, we are called to transform the hearts of rebellious sinners. We are called to be Christ’s hands and voice in the world by inviting those who don’t know Jesus to church. The church is for more than just believers in Christ.
If you believed these lies about the Christian church as a believer or non-believer, you’re not alone. Some of these falsehoods are hard to digest because we’ve bought into them for so long. We shouldn’t allow these things to separate us from our mission as believers of Christ. Make sure these aren’t getting in the way of you reaching others.