How (I’m Learning) to Stop Criticizing the Church

LauraAll Posts


(Why not include a photo of my sweet baby girl?)

It was only five or six years ago that I had a lightbulb moment about what my attitude should be about the Church. Up until that point – all through my twenties and early married life – I tended to see myself as the “brain” of the body of Christ.  I thought I was gifted with special insight to see major holes in the Church. At a moment’s notice, I could’ve listed the Church’s failures, blunders, and ineptness.  I could’ve pointed out weaknesses from the pastor on down through the congregation – including the nursery workers. And the most discouraging part was that it seemed I was the only one who saw or cared. Did I have a spiritual gift? I think I thought so.

Then, I started studying the mature Christians around me – the ones I loved so dearly and respected so deeply – and realized they were not thinking, talking, or behaving the same way I was when it came to the Church. The Holy Spirit used their lives as a wake-up call to me as I wondered, why were these saints so content and happy with the Church? 

They weren’t critical about the pastoral search committee.

They weren’t resistant to discussions about changes, organization, or new projects.

They weren’t the loudest voices at congregational meetings, asking the hard-hitting questions.

Nor were they moping in the margin, believing that the majority of Christians “just don’t get it”.

Instead, where they saw a need for more wisdom, they prayed.

Where they saw a need for more workers, they signed up.

Where they saw a need for a ministry, they started it.

Where they saw glimpses of growth, they encouraged it.

They didn’t see the Church as something to be divided into “people who get it” and “people who don’t”. Rather, they were part of the whole shebang, and they weren’t interested in criticism when there was so much work to do.

They never – ever – ever – saw a hole and asked accusingly, “Why isn’t someone filling that hole?!”

They just filled it.

Or they encouraged someone else to fill it. Or maybe they taught someone to fill it. Or they asked God Himself to fill it. And if He didn’t, they asked for contentment to live with that hole.

Though there is certainly a time for serious criticism in the Church, mature Christians don’t seem to believe it’s often.

Reflecting on the mature Christian’s vibrant, uncritical life in the body of Christ taught me that I am not the brain.

Jesus is.

Even when it seems like people are careless and foolish and weak and uncommitted, Jesus is building something glorious through those very people – including me.

My role is to trust Him as the mastermind of it all. As it turns out, not being the brain frees me up significantly. I can love, serve, and rest well. I can offer my real spiritual gifts generously, with no strings attached and no point to prove.  The best part is that my fellowship with the Church is so much more content and sweet.

“… speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love…” Ephesians 4: 15-16