When The Imperfect Becomes Perfect

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After my small country church shut its doors, I tried to make church fit my expectations. I must be a slow learner because I spent two years trying to fit in where God hadn’t placed me. It didn’t work out well for me as I felt lost for a long time.

I could list the requirements for my perfect church. It started with a smaller congregation where everyone knows each other on a Sunday morning. Worship is not too loud and includes both hymns and contemporary Christian music. The sermons are relevant to imperfect real life.

I finally found the perfect church that met all my requirements. It was time to sit down with the pastor and hear his heart and vision in his own words for my perfect church. That meeting was where I discovered that the perfect church of my mind was the not the perfect church God had in mind for me.

The pastor didn’t say anything wrong. It was just the opposite as I was engaged by his straightforward and God-honoring vision for the church’s future. Rather, it was a nugget of wisdom he inserted into our conversation that changed my focus. He talked about the “community” the church was trying to reach.

Something resonated in my heart. My “community” was serving cancer survivors along with others who are passionate about “providing hope, support, service and love to those struggling with cancer by being the hands and feet of Jesus.” (The mission statement for Cancer Hope.) That moment was the turning point where I finally recognized my perfect church. Afterwards, I thanked God for imparting His truth deep inside of me. Then, I mailed an apology and explanation to the pastor for changing my mind about his church.

In reality, God had revealed the answer to my church search two years earlier. However, at that time, this particular church did not meet my requirements. It was too big and the music was too loud. I had attended one of three weekend services and did not recognize a single smile. I didn’t stay because I was intimidated by what I saw on the surface. God wanted me to dig deeper. That process took me two years to work through and finally accept.

The second time around, I returned to the church with a different attitude. In the first few weeks back, the pastor addressed those of us uncomfortable with a big church. Paraphrasing his words to the congregation, “The early church was big. Three thousand people were added in one day. In heaven, there will be lots of people worshiping together. You might want to get used to it now.” I just knew the pastor was speaking directly to me!

As for “my community,” I am now the leader of a cancer ministry that has supported over 380 survivors in 25 states since its beginning in 2011. I thank God that He made my “perfect” church “imperfect” so I could experience His perfect plans for my life. I am finally home and it is the perfect place to rest.

Proverbs 16:9

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.

Psalm 25:4-5

Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

 

 

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8 thoughts on “When The Imperfect Becomes Perfect

  1. I have known great joy in being part of a Loving Church Debbie but also sadness with some others, what I look for in a Church is God’s Truth being shared and Loving Unity in Fellowship.

    Debbie would you mind telling me what your Ministry to those with Cancer involves ? what do you have to do as a Leader ?

    Christian Love and Blessings – Anne.

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    • Annie, Not at all! I love what I do in the name of Jesus. We are a behind-the-scenes support group for cancer patients going through active treatment. Everything we do is based on and bathed in prayer. We send cards, texts, and gifts of love to encourage and remind the survivors that others are praying for them and thinking of them throughout their cancer journey. As the ministry leader, I do a little of everything: oversight, finances, praying, enrolling survivors, thanking volunteers, vision, e-mail responses, connectiong people to resources, etc. What makes me qualified? I hope people see a woman that is passionate about serving God and deeply empathetic to those going through cancer.

      By the way, I agree with you about looking for God’s truth being shared and Loving unity in fellowship. I feel blessed in where I live that so many churches are doing a great job of sharing God’s truth. As for the loving unity, I think that is revealed in more than just a first impression. (I visited many churches just once. Some seemed “friendlier” than others. However, I did not stay there to truly discern over time if there was loving unity.)

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  2. How wonderful your Ministry is Debbie, to reach out to those who are hurting and in need is of great Eternal value, in Truth what you are doing for them you are doing for Jesus (see below) I wish you could Minister to Ron and some of my friends who also have Cancer, I know they would feel very blessed to know you care.

    Matthew 25 : 31 -40 Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand; Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was an hungred and ye gave me meat, I was thirsty and ye gave me drink, I was a stranger and ye took me in. Naked, and ye clothed me, I was sick and ye visited me, I was in Prison and ye came unto me. Then shall the Righteous answer Him saying; Lord when saw we thee an hungred and fed thee? or thirsty and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger and took thee in? or naked and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick or in prison and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto me.

    Christian Love and Blessings – Anne.

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  3. Debbie, sometimes we have to be ready to “see” what God has for us as well as understand His Will. What a great lesson for all of us about being ready to recognize when the imperfect becomes perfect. Those first impressions in a church are important for visitors but it’s also hard to reveal truths about ourselves and our churches in those first impressions. That’s why involvement and small groups where we get to know others and they get to know us are so important.

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    • Our church calls those small groups “Play Groups” where we put our faith into play!

      We know that a church is a “family” like our own households where we embrace each other, imperfect and real people!

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