I grew up in the Church. No really, I grew up in the church.
As a pastor’s kid, I spent countless hours in church and doing church activities. I am a church native and familiar with all its quirks and cultural oddities, with all its strengths and all its failings. As the son of prominent evangelical pastor John Piper, I not only saw the inner workings of my own church, I was also exposed to church leaders from around the world and saw the good and the bad from their churches, too.
Many people like me, who grew up immersed in church, have given up on it. Many see church as archaic, domineering, impersonal, hypocritical, irrelevant, contentious, petty, boring and stale. It’s institutional instead of authentic and religious but not relational, they say.
I have seen all this in church and can agree that each accusation is true in instances. A PK sees all this up close and far too personally and feels each fault even more intensely. It really is enough to make one want to bail on church.
And I had my chance. Despite growing up steeped in sound Bible teaching and a loving context, I grew up empty in my soul. I believed but didn’t fully believe. I obeyed but kept parts of my life for myself, bits of dishonesty and secrecy. I knew Jesus and knew He was the only way to be saved from my sin, but I didn’t give my life to Him.
In the end it blew up in my face and I was faced with the decision: stay in church and work through my mess or leave and be free.
I chose to stay.
While leaving was an option, it was one that I looked at and saw emptiness. Sure, the Church can cause a lot of pain and annoyance, but it’s where Jesus’ people are connected. And really, that’s what it is about—Jesus. That’s what made it so clear to me that staying was best.
The Church is a messy place by nature. That’s what happens when a bunch of sinners come together anywhere. But it is a messy place designed by God to be His face to the World, and all those sinners reflect Him in unique ways.
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