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Reputation or People

June 26, 2014

What is more important – a church’s reputation or the spiritual welfare of those who attend it?

This question hit me this last week. After hearing someone say they were concerned an event was a black mark on a particular church it made me reflect on the statement. The more I thought about it, the more it bothers me.

While the reputation of a church is an important thing what about the people? Many churches have survived major negative incidents with little lasting effects, but their people were wounded. But the simple answer lies in what a church feels its mission is. What does the church feel a church is theologically? Many will say the reputation of the church is greater than any one given person.

I would argue otherwise. First, Jesus did not come to save churches He came to save people. Jesus was a champion of the underdog and a giver of hope. He loved people, not institutions. So, imagine if we started modeling our behavior after our Savior. Would your church have a prostitute outreach ministry or a ministry that holds a church service under a bridge for the homeless? Would your church support an outreach ministry to people in the adult entertainment industry? And I don’t mean a ministry that condemns their every move but one where they are loved and cared for without expectation of anything in return. Or would your church be worried about its reputation?

Churches need to start reflecting on what they are supposed to be doing and make a decision what is more important to Jesus – their reputation or the people.


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  1. The church is made up OF the people…so the spiritual welfare will define the church reputation. If the spirituality of the people is weak, the church’s reputation will reflect that, and will not reflect the love of Christ in a way that brings glory to God. If the spirituality of the people is strong, the reputation of the church will be one of love, growth and welcoming. People are always important, reputation comes after. Love this post!

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