I cannot tell you how many times I have talked with people about their loved ones’ standing with God. This is a good thing. I have loved ones and pray for their standing with God. The thing that has disturbed me about how some have requested me to pray is that they ask me to pray that they get back in church. Honestly, I believe there is a much better prayer to pray. The root of this issue is this – Is the answer the church or the Christ?
The answer is Christ. I pray that people will fall in love with Jesus not an institution. You may think, “But you’re a pastor! You shouldn’t be praying such things or publicly blogging such things.” My response is that no one should exalt a building over the One who died so that those who trust in Him can meet together to glorify Him and grow together in Him. The true church is not an organization but people all over the world who have trusted in Christ to wash away their sins. Believers in nearby locations meet together for worship and growth. The way they do that doesn’t have to fit cultural expectations. The church gathered has taken on many expressions, and many of them are different but still accomplishing the Great Commission. I will not criticize a church because it doesn’t look like mine. God uses us all to accomplish His Kingdom Work.
With all that said, the answer is the Christ. The church may help lead people to the answer and grow deeper in Him, but people will face a Christless eternity if they put the cart before the horse. You can say a thousand prayers, sing a thousand churchy songs, get wet in a baptistery, join a church, and serve on 15 committees and die apart without a relationship with Christ. He is the answer. So here is what I say…Take me to the King!