Our Church Reputation
“…we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.” Colossians 1:4-5 (ESV)
Being a pastor and living in a city like Nashville, I hear a lot about churches. I have learned that it doesn’t take much for a church to get a reputation. Churches become known for their style of music and preaching, their culture and theology, their weekly attendance, and a number of other things.
Most people are concerned about the reputation of their church. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Since a church is going to be known for something, it doesn’t hurt to try to determine what that is.
That’s why I am so intrigued by what the Apostle Paul said about the church in Colossae. When Paul’s friend Epaphras brought news to him about this relatively new church, he told of its reputation for faith in Christ, love for other Christians, and hope. Nothing is said of this church’s building, programs, worship style, or attendance numbers.
This church had a reputation for faith in Jesus Christ. People were becoming Christians. Christians were walking in faith. The presence of faith in Christ is something that cannot be ignored. It brings glory to God. It gives a church a reputation.
This church had a reputation for love for each other. They loved their fellow believers that they knew and those they did not know. They loved the Christians in their gathering and those in the gathering across town. They knew they belonged to a new family of faith, with God as their Father, Christ as the Brother, and the Holy Spirit as their Comforter. So, they had family love for one another.
This church had a reputation for having hope for the future. Their hope was “laid up in heaven.” Their hope was for a future of unhindered fellowship with Christ and the full experience of his love.
We sometimes hear that we should just do our thing and not care about what others think of us. To be honest, I do care. I care about the reputation of Grace Community Church. I sometimes need to be corrected for wanting to have a reputation for the wrong things, but not for wanting to be known as a church where faith in Jesus Christ and love for each other, based on the hope laid up in heaven, are the most notable things about us. And, I think it is good to pray and live for that to be our reputation in the decades to come. We will be known for something. Let it be faith, hope and love.
This weekend, read Colossians 1:3-8 and pray for our Sunday worship gathering.