Dad preached a masterpiece about 20 years ago that I got to hear on a tape - it had one line in it that kept coming back: “The church is an organism not an organization.” It is a living breathing thing made up of people not bricks and mortar. It is not a sheet of policies to be enforced but a group of people to be embraced. It’s hard to love an organization. It’s not surprising that so many people dislike the church “corporate” but if you can “bring before them” individuals who are members of the church they speak with a certain reverence. You can find great prejudice against the church in most communities where it is well established but if you start talking about individual leaders of the church you start opening hearts and doors.
This may be why evangelism that is one on one works so well and programed evangelism tends to be a hard-sale. God did not mean for us to “sale” an institution, He meant for US to tell others about His Son.
“Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.(1 Peter 2:12 (ESV) or as The Message renders it: “Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they'll be won over to God's side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.” And remember Peter’s words to women married to men who are not Christians: “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2when they see your respectful and pure conduct” (1 Peter 3:1-2). This attractive living appears to be part of amazing growth of the early church: “praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47).
A church is only as alive as it's individual members are. It can never have the effect institutionally that it can individually! It is our faith, our love, our service that makes the church beautiful in our communities and in our world. If we are not striving to be what we need to be we handicap the church.
Now, go out there and Be a Part of His Living Body on earth today. Lead a soul to Him!