The best thing about the church isn’t its cutting edge methodologies, its seeker sensitivities or its involvement in the latest, greatest social cause. It’s not its ministries, outreach, or benevolence. Neither is it Lord’s Suppers, sweet singing, or humble prayers. The best thing about the church isn’t its presence on social media, hospitality, or small groups. The best thing about the church is Jesus.
And it’s not even close.
I suppose it’s natural for us to get caught up in the human aspect of things but spiritually it’s a monumental mistake. The greatest question is still the one posed two thousand years ago at Caesarea Philippi, “Who do you say that I am?” What the church has to offer is more than friendship, daycare, food distributions, VBS, school supplies, exercise classes, sports leagues, coffee shops (I’ll have mine with a little touch of the Almighty) and the like—it must above all hold up the crucified and resurrected Christ to a world living away from its Father. It must proclaim the atoning work of Jesus to people in need of redemption. Our amenities are fine, wonderful things (well, most of them are anyway), but they are no substitute for Jesus and the salvation He brings.
We have no memorials to church amenities, but we do have one to the One who came and lived in joyful obedience to His Father and became a ransom for mankind. In addition to this and other important, fundamental truths the Supper proclaims, it reminds us that the best thing about the church is Jesus. Each week! All of us! This is to be be impressed upon our minds, written on our hearts and at the core of everything we do.
The best thing about the church is Jesus–it was true in the first century and it is just as true today and will be so throughout eternity (Ephesians 3:20-21). No church can move forward by any other means. It might move sideways or backward, but never ahead.
It will always be fashionable to proclaim that Christ rounds out our lives–that He is the whipped cream and cherry on top of the always pleasant life we are convinced God has called us to. It will always be radical to maintain that He is not that—He is our life (Colossians 3:4), and only by taking up our cross and following Him can we find life in abundance (Luke 9:23; John 10:10).
Before the world can be won to Christ, the church must be. We must be thoroughly convinced and utterly convicted that we are not the answer in any shape. form or fashion. We can and must point away from ourselves and toward the risen and returning Christ. He has always been and will always be the best thing about the church.