Church Person or Jesus Person?

“For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2 NLT)

There is a common expression that I’ve heard used in various settings that says: “Fake it ‘til you make it!” In some arenas of life that may be appropriate; however, it’s never acceptable for a child of God. To “fake” a relationship with Jesus is, on some levels, like pretending to be someone’s friend.

Across the years I’ve witnessed firsthand people who have no real feelings for another person, yet they pretend to care because of something they want from them (me). It saddens me to see that, but not nearly so much as when I see it in the church. Even pastors or leaders in the church who go through the proverbial motions of ministry, not because they’re called or even that they love Jesus. To them it’s a “vocation” or “a job.”

Similarly, many who attend and serve in churches do so out of an allegiance or sense of obligation to the pastor or to the church, not necessarily to Jesus. Yet, on the other hand, there are increasing numbers of people, especially since Covid, whose attitude seems to be: “I love Jesus, but I have no use for the church.”  

Where are you on this subject? Are you a “church person” or a “Jesus person?” I resonate with Matt Chandler’s words when he said: “If you’re a church person and not a Jesus person, my heart hurts for you. It’s like being engaged and never getting married. It’s miserable.” 

Perhaps you’re wrestling with the difference between the two. To me the prime difference is motivation. Why do you attend or not attend church? But I believe it’s broader than that. In my mind the difference rests in the focal point of a person’s affection. Is it the “church,” meaning the people of the local fellowship to which they belong and/or serve, or is it Jesus?

And the logical question then becomes: “Can’t you love and serve both?” And, yes, of course you can, but the original question is still valid. Where does your primary affection lie? Do you love and serve your church fellowship primarily based on your love for and devotion to Jesus, or to the church? Does your heart beat with desire to magnify Jesus and make much of Him in every area and dimension of your life? Or is your focus more on what’s going to make you look good and feel good about yourself?

Part of the answer lies in who you are as a person, in the sense that, where does the “real you” shine? Because I served many years bi-vocationally, working a secular job as well as serving a church, I’m reminded of conversations I’ve had with folks over the years. Their conversation is often flavored with profanity and lewdness until they find out, usually because someone else would tell them, that I was also a pastor.

Then it’s “Oh, pastor, I attend such and such church and I’m a deacon or ________. God bless you, brother, for your service.” Therein lies the difference between the two. Transparency, authenticity, genuineness of character and life.

Who we are is revealed not only in the words we speak, but the life that backs those words. If Jesus is the Lord and motivation behind the person I am, it’s not only going to show itself in the words I speak, but the attitude of my heart – WHY I speak those words, and to what end? Am I seeking in everything I do and say to magnify Jesus or me?

Food for thought.

Blessings, Ed 😊

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: