In my years of pastoring I have sometimes looked at my congregation and wished that I had so-and-so (or someone like so-and-so) in my congregation. I’d see people like that in other churches, in my reading, or in my imagination and wish they’d come my way. The more I think about it, however, I think my wishing has been misguided. Instead of wishing for people I don’t have, I need to work with the people I do have. It’s my job to win them to Christ, build them as followers of Jesus, and teach them to obey everything he has commanded. This job includes a recursive element. I’m not just supposed to relate to people this way, but I’m supposed to help those people relate to others the same way.
This seems to be an important part of the solution to the “perfect church problem.” We all have people from time to time who are disillusioned with our churches. The people aren’t spiritual enough. The programs aren’t “feeding” them any more. The life is stale. But if my job – and dare I suggest the job of the Christian who aspires to maturity in Jesus – is to love and grow the people I have, none of this is relevant, except insofar as we now know our starting point. Our goal is still the same – maturity in Christ.