A Family is Waiting for You
One of my favorite things about God is that He can meet our needs as a loving, caring, intimate parent in a way no earthly parent can. Whether you feel like an orphan and are craving to be “set in a family” or you have a healthy family but you still feel lonely, God has built a beautiful family for you to be part of — His own. In fact, at the very core of the gospel message is this idea that, despite our being separated from God because of our sin, in His great love God has a plan to get us back.
Invited Into His Family
He invites us into His family. He adopts us in from the moment we trust Jesus as Savior. And He gives us a place with brothers and sisters and promises to be a loving Father for us and to help us in our distress. He is our family, and through His Church, we have a new, bigger family here on earth.
“You have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” Scripture reminds us. “For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’”
One of the greatest village experiences Zac and I have known involved a fumbling, imperfect church plant set in the context of a diverse crew of really kind sinners. These days, our small group through our church has become like family. I have brothers, sisters, grandparents, cousins, and crazy aunts galore, and it all has come through our local, real-life church.
The Church is Full of Sinful Sinners
But for you, “church” may usher in a completely different set of thoughts.
For most people I talk to, the only collection of individuals that comes remotely close to having caused as much pain and trauma as their nuclear family is the local church. Any guesses why? Because it’s full of sinners. And guess what sinners do?
Yep. They sin.
We hurt each other. One of the reasons people leave the church is because it doesn’t feel like a family. It’s not a group of people coming together to take care of each other under the banner of Jesus. No, these days, you’re lucky if you know a single soul at your church. We’re more often a bunch of strangers who silently pass each other by.
We Need Each Other
But it doesn’t have to be this way. As followers of Jesus, we need each other, and as difficult as it might feel, a local church is one of the best ways to ﬁnd your people.
I tell my teammates when they come to work at IF:Gathering, “Find an imperfect church fast, and start serving in the nursery.” By serving right away, you will meet people, and even though those people won’t be perfect, those connections with real, living beings will help you remember that you are part of something good. And serving also reminds you, before you resent the Church too much, that you are part of it. You are the Church. It isn’t an institution, it’s a group of people, of which you are one.
Church can be our people.
Church can be our imperfect little village.
Church can be our family.
Jennie Allen joins Randy and Sheila this Tuesday and Thursday on LIFE TODAY. This is an excerpt from Find Your People by Jennie Allen. Copyright ©2022 by Jennie Allen. Published by WaterBrook, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Used by permission.