A good church is a Bible-centered church. Nothing is as important as this–not a large congregation, a witty pastor, or tangible experiences of the Holy Spirit.”― Alistair Begg
I mean, on the surface, I think it sounds right. We know that as believers, the Bible is our bread. It is God’s very Word to us, able to divide joints and marrow (spiritually speaking). But is a Bible-centered church really the most important thing in creating a “good church” (whatever that means)?
Consider the Acts church, which grew rapidly and spread the Gospel like wild fire. Do you think the thing they focused on most, was the Bible? Was it within the Bible, and from the Bible, that they found their strength and power?
I doubt it. I think the Acts church focused most of their energy on something else entirely.
I once heard a pastor at a local Phoenix area mega-church talk about the 3 kinds of churches that exist. The first church is a Bible church, that focuses primarily on the Word. The second is a Jesus church that focus mainly on the Person of Jesus. And the third kind of church, he said, was a Holy Spirit church, that was more so preoccupied with things of the Spirit.
So after reading that quote and recalling this pastor’s sermon, I got to thinking; which type of church is best? Which of the 3 types should we strive to achieve and focus our energies upon?
Well, here’s the thing, if you’ve read this blog for longer than a week, you might know that the questions I posed, are trick questions. I’m not going to pretend that I know the answer, in its entirety, but here’s what I think…
I think all three “types of churches” are wrong.
My instinct, upon listing all three, however, is to say that being a Jesus-focused church is key. I mostly stick by that idea because as experience has shown me, nothing…and I mean nothing, is as important as knowing, seeking, and representing Jesus.
The problem, however, is that many churches that would categorize themselves as “Jesus-churches” are often really good at knowing about Him, but not necessarily knowing Him. These churches can give you all the correct Jesus-Sunday-school-answers, but representing Him in powerful, tangible, and practical ways is another story.
Next we have churches that focus primarily on the Bible. Now, please don’t misunderstand me here, either. I have grown very much thanks to some healthy Bible churches I know. God’s Word is trans-formative. Yet, what many Bible churches lack, is a practice and understanding of the Spirit.
Which leads us to the Holy Spirit heavy church, of which I have been a part of many. These churches tend to lean more towards experiencing the manifestations and presence of the Holy Spirit, so much so that they are often weak on God’s Word and/or the importance of an intimate relationship with Jesus.
So which type of church is best? Again, I don’t know, but my heart longs for a church that is a perfect blend of all three. When I think of the Acts church, I imagine them all-consumed with knowing Jesus and nothing else. I imagine them in pursuit of Christ, but neither lacking in the things of the Spirit or for a love of God’s Word.
As my husband pointed out to me, as I wrote this post, the things of the Spirit and a love for God’s Word all flow out of a devoted and Christ-centered heart. The New Testament church experienced the radical power of God in all forms, but I believe it was, in large part, because of the fact that knowing and loving Jesus, was their primary focus.
The Bible doesn’t call us the Body of the Holy Spirit or the Body of the Word. We are called the Body of Christ and if we know that the the Bible is God’s very words and the Holy Spirit is the indwelling of Christ in us, well then it seems that Jesus should and must come first.
A church relying mostly on the Bible or mostly the Spirit, or teaching only tenants of Christ, but not living them out, is broken, lop-sided, and lacking.
The more I have begun to grasp the necessity to cling to the Person of Jesus and seek Him and His headship over everything else, the more I have felt a part of the church…the more I have felt whole as a member within His body.
The church where Christ is head is best. Everything else is just secondary.
What type of church do you think is best? What type of church do you have experience with? Am I being idealistic to hope for a church that displays all three?