Picture Perfect was a 1995 movie about two teenagers from neighboring families who joined their families in hopes of winning a soda company’s grand prize for the perfect family. What they didn’t know was the company CEO had to live with the family for a week before making a decision. The two teens were eventually forced to reveal their predicament to their parents who reluctantly agreed to live out the farce for the week, never imagining they would actually be chosen. After being selected as winners, they were forced to reveal the lie. Of course it had a happy ending and the two single parents fell in love and married.
How does a perfect church look? The immediate problem is there are none. I once knew a lady who was accustomed to saying something like, “It may be a perfect church now, but after I join, it won’t be.”
Ben Campbell Johnson tells a story illustrating the role of the church in the world. A young lady’s parents are killed. The church she attends adopts her, cares for her needs, and even sends her to college. Upon graduation, she returns to the community and asks the pastor to let her address the church. Standing before the congregation, she thanks God for all he has accomplished in her life, looks at the congregation and thanks them, then addresses various sections of the congregation. Summing up the feelings of her heart, she says “You are Him here. You are Him here.”
This is the mission of the church. We are extensions of Christ’s ministry on earth. We are his body, and he has left us the responsibility of carrying forth his work. We are his arms, hands, feet, legs, ears, and eyes. It is unfortunate many local churches have lost their purpose and others have a hard time determining what it is to begin with. They have no clear sense of direction. God’s Word, however, is very clear on the reason for the church’s existence.
A picture perfect church is:
- A Chosen Community
- A Body of Christ
- A Fellowship of Redemptive Love