Thoughts On Church: The Maturing Church?


Originally posted at

My name is Russ and I’m a preacher’s kid.

So, I’ve pretty much been a “kid” of the church my whole life. Of course, I’m a grown up now and have been for the last 15 years, but I still feel like I’ve never known anything else.

I wasn’t one to go buck wild out of high school and make an idiot of myself and embarrass my family.

I wasn’t a prodigal son (in the “out of church” sense).

I wasn’t the crazy preacher’s kid who fell into the stereotype of preacher’s kids…hating the church and anything to do with it.

I feel like my journey has been a pretty good one. Not perfect, but pretty good. I thank God for His grace in my life, because like the next guy, I fall short of His righteousness and glory on my own. I’m not any better or worse than the person next to me in church, and I want it to be known that I struggle with pride, lust, greed, and every sin that anybody else does.

My name is Russ and I’m a preacher’s kid.

The Maturing Church

One of the observations I have made in my long journey through “churchdom” is that the Church is a “place” full of hurt people. I can remember hundreds, if not thousands, of prayers being lifted to God like: “heal” us and “mend our broken hearts” and “make us whole again.”

Come to think of it, I can barely, if at all, remember any prayers to God like: “Thank you that we’re overcomers” or “Praise you that we’ve won” or “All glory to you for the victories.”

Of course, there were some. I don’t want to paint in too broad strokes here. But I got to thinking yesterday when I was smack dab in the middle of “church” that we are a pretty immature “church” – the whole lot of us.

The Immature Church

Now there’s always exceptions to the rule, but I was just amazed (inwardly) at how many times I’ve heard the SAME people pray over and over about the same struggles and the same wounds.

And I thought to myself, will WE ever grow up as the church?

Will we ever BE HEALED? Will we ever walk here on this earth in a victorious attitude of gratitude and prayer?

The Church, The Oasis, The Harbor, The Hospital

Don’t get me wrong. I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that we the PEOPLE, who make up God’s Church are to offer hope, healing, and restoration to a world that is broken, bruised, and dying. We are to offer rescue and redemption (by and through Jesus, of course).

But I wonder sometimes, if the lifeboats are all filled up, if the waterhole is too crowded, and if there are no beds left in the hospital – because of US. Because we won’t take the necessary steps to receive victory. Because we, the church, won’t GROW UP?

Does the world look at us and sense our own anxiety and fear, our own wounds festering (not being healed)? You know if I keep opening an old wound, it will never heal. If I never “let go and let God” then I’ll always be incomplete.

I believe, I truly believe, that even though we walk in a fallen earth, even though our journey is one through a sin-filled world where hurt is inevitable, that we CAN BE WHOLE. It’s by the blood of Jesus and in HIS awesome power and authority that we, the Church, can not only be healed, but can also walk away from those wounds, and offer the same healing to a battered world.

Now if you’re a part of the Church and are broken, battered, and bruised, there is NO CONDEMNATION. Receive your healing. Walk in it. Share it. But please, for the love of God, and the love of others, don’t linger in your hurt. Don’t crowd up the watering hole. Drink fully, but bring others to the water of Life as well.

At the end of Colossians 1, Paul thanks God for the suffering and afflictions that he has suffered for Christ’s sake. He writes that his “mission” is to warn and to teach everyone in wisdom so that they might be presented as mature (some translations say perfect or complete) in Christ. It’s what drove him. His mission was to “grow” believers.

I think that is also the purpose of the “church” – and as a part of the church we should all strive to accept God’s admonishment and teaching (He’s pretty wise) and move past the same hurts and wounds we’ve been holding on to and move to a place where instead of always crying out like infants, we embrace the trials and tribulations for Christ’s sake, and we press through, holding on to the hope of glory to which He has called us to, and come out on the other side victorious.

That is a picture of the maturing church.

  • How can we as WORSHIP LEADERS help people to be continuously growing and moving forward?
  • Are there parts of our gathering “scenarios” that make it more difficult for people to actually grow?
  • How would you challenge and encourage your worship teams to “not hog all the Living Water” for themselves? Figuratively speaking, of course.