There's an old joke that goes like this:
A mother went to wake her son for church one Sunday morning. When she knocked on his door, he said, "I'm not going!"
"Why not?" asked his mother.
"I'll give you two good reasons," he said. "One, they don't like me. Two, I don't like them."
His mother replied, "I'll give you two good reasons why YOU WILL go to church. One, you're 47 years old. Two, you're the pastor!"
There are times when any of us "don't like the church" - even the pastor. When I was doing my internship at Southland Christian Church in Lexington, KY, senior minister Mike Breaux remarked that there were times when he didn't want to be pastor. He would dream about becoming a greenskeeper on a golf course. One day he approached Bob Russell, the senior minister of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville and asked him if he'd ever thought about that.
"No way!" Bob answered. After a pause, he said, "I wouldn't be a greeskeeper; I would manage a Dairy Queen!"
There are times when it's tough being a pastor - there are times when it's tough being a church member. Yet I love the church. Here are some reasons I love the church.
1. God loves the Church. He even goes so far as to call the Church the Bride of Christ. If God loves the church, I do, too! It's not cool to say, "I like Jesus, but I think His wife is a skank."
2. I am constantly amazed by how people are growing in their faith.
3. It is great to be a part of something greater than myself. There are things that the Church does every day that I couldn't do at all by myself. An example is our "Christmas is not your birthday" offering, through which we gave over $2000 to the Hebron New Life Baby Pantry. I couldn't have done that, but the Church did. And that's just one small example.
4. People in the Church love my family. Families in the church give my kids Christmas presents just, not because they are "the pastor's kids" but just because they love my kids for who they are. When we take "extra" kids into our family, there are amazing people who step up to help my wife with them during services or to make sure our first girl has pink clothes to wear.
5. God believes in the Church. God believes that the Church can be the vehicle to carry His Word to the world, and I love that!
6. A diverse community comes together in unity. This can be hard to achieve, but I have seen it in action. When the focus is on Jesus Christ, all of the other stuff becomes extraneous.
7. When we get together, it's celebration time! God doesn't only work on Sunday morning; God is continually at work. Therefore, when we get together once a week, we can celebrate what God is doing!
8. Praise with other people is greater than praise by myself. It is so wonderful to sing praises as I go running, but it's way better to join with others in singing, raising hands to the Lord.
9. The Gates of Hell won't prevail against the Church! Isn't it awesome that Jesus gives humans this amazing power? We can storm the Gates of Hell, because Satan is powerless against us!
10. Jesus is here! He said where we gather together in unity, he will be there with us. Isn't this the picture of church!
There are many, many more things I love about the Church, but I needed to limit it to 10 to make it a proper Top Ten list. What about you? What do you love about the Church?