What makes an attractive church
BY Pastor Brandon Young
According to definitions.net, “Physical attractiveness is the degree to which a person’s physical features are considered aesthetically pleasing or beautiful.” Isaiah 53:2 states, “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” Jesus was not physically attractive, but multitudes were attracted to him. What drew others to our Lord instead of physical beauty? He was completely different from what was considered the “norm,” and he had great care and compassion for others.
John 6:1-2 states, “After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.” Jesus attracted great crowds due to the work that he was doing to glory his Heavenly Father! The church should be imitators of Christ, and in doing so we will attract others to Him.
It is disturbing today to realize exactly how people look at Christianity. Christians are viewed by many as nuisances who try to impose innumerable rules upon everyone else. We’re regarded as a bunch of do-gooders who always find ways to condemn those that don’t believe like us, and who are always against something. We are always fighting amongst ourselves. We’re never allowed to have any fun. And we’re always trying to shove this God down people’s throats. How did we get to this place of disdain? I believe that in our efforts to understand why we are so disliked by the rest of society, we need to step back and take a good look at ourselves. What if Christians are at fault for the way people view us? What if we, really, are the ones to blame for the way people perceive us? What if we have been the ones to make Christianity unattractive?
1 Corinthians 11:28a says: “But let a man examine himself,” and Philippians 2:12 states, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” We are told that we should examine our own lives and work out our own salvation with fear. Jesus was a friend of the sinners and they loved to be around him. He did not sin, but he showed love and compassion to the sinners. It was the religious leaders of that day that despised our Lord because he included everyone and he was openly critical of the Pharisees’ hypocrisy. We are the bride of the Christ and He is the bridegroom. It is of utmost importance that Jesus find our lives attractive, and if he is attracted to us and we are pleasing in his sight, others around us will be attracted to us. So, what is attractive as a church?
1. A changed church is attractive. 2 Corinthians 5:17, “ Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Jesus was different from any other person on earth and this difference caught the attention of others.
There is just something attractive about people once caught up in sin that can now demonstrate completely different lives. Too many times the world is turned off by Christianity because they know people who call themselves Christians, who probably harp on them to go to church, but who are no different than they are.
2. A committed church is attractive. Colossians 3:23, “ And whatsoever ye do, do [it] heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;” Luke 9:62, “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Someone who puts themselves into a cause he or she believes in whole-heartedly is spiritually attractive. Total dedication and commitment amaze people. Far too many Christians are not committed to their cause or to their Savior. Church is just a country club. The word “Christian” is just a label.
3. A consistent church is attractive. 1 John 2:6,“ He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”
Consistent means acting or done in the same way over time, especially so as to be fair or accurate; unchanging in nature, standard, or effect over time.
Christian means “Christ follower.” In other words, if I call myself a Christian, I am like Jesus, not just in what I say, but in what I do, how I live.
Charles Spurgeon said, “A man’s life is always more forcible than his speech. When men take stock of him they reckon his deeds as dollars and his words as pennies. If his life and doctrine disagree the mass of onlookers accept his practice and reject his preaching.”
4. A compassionate church is attractive. Jude 22, “22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:”
Attractive Christians are compassionate people. I read a story online about little boy was attending a church in Chicago. When his parents moved to another part of the city the little guy still attended the same church, although it meant a long, tiresome walk each way. A friend asked him why he went so far, and told him that there were plenty of others just as good nearer to his home. “They may be as good for others, but not for me,” was his reply. “Why not?” his friend asked. “Because they love a fellow over there,” he replied. A church that loves and moves with compassion will attract others!
5. A cheerful church is attractive. 2 Corinthians 9:7 – Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, [so let him give]; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. Proverbs 17:22 – A merry heart doeth good [like] a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. Psalms 5:11 – But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. Psalms 100:2 – Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
There is nothing worse than seeing a grumpy Christian. People all around us are looking for something that will make them happy. They are looking in all sorts of places. And none of those places do it for them. Maybe we have been guilty of not being a joyful people. But if we want to be attractive Christians, we must allow our joy to show. We must wipe that etched frown off our face and start smiling. We must stop always seeing the negative in things and begin looking for the positive. We must stop allowing ourselves to get caught up in arguing and complaining and begin encouraging and praising more.
It is my desire that the world see Jesus in me! Jesus is attractive! The world doesn’t need more of me, but the world needs more of Jesus. We are living in a dark, scary, and upsetting time, but we as the church of Christ have the solution. Romans 13:14 says, “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” If we choose to clothe ourselves in the humility and love of Jesus, we will be attractive to those around us!
(The Solution Column is provided by Pastor Brandon Young of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton.)