There is something tricky about church. Many of the things that we love about our favorite church have zero ability to strengthen our faith.
For example, I love pastors who are organized thinkers, worship leaders who are skilled singers, and church buildings that are visually beautiful. You might love a fun children’s ministry that your kids beg to go back to. Or a culture of hospitality that welcomes Sunday guests with open arms. Those are all wonderful blessings! Personally, I prefer them to disorganized pastors, unskilled worship leaders, ugly buildings, boring kids’ programs, and chilly congregational cultures.
But here’s the tricky part. Nothing I just listed has the ability to strengthen our faith. The apostle Paul taught, “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:17). If you want faith, more faith, and stronger faith, fill your church with the message. Turn your ears to the words about the works of Jesus Christ.
Perhaps today you could pray for the best of both worlds. Take a few minutes to pray for pastors who, in an organized way, preach the message of Jesus’ mercy. Pray for singers who, after much practice, lift up their voices to declare the saving name of Jesus. Pray for buildings where the Word is opened in the church sanctuary, in the kids’ classrooms, in the counseling offices, everywhere.
The Word. That’s where faith comes from.