If you could change one thing about the Church, what would it be?

I get asked this question a lot. And, if you’re a Christian, my guess is that you find this question rather easy to answer. I mean, you could probably think about 10 things that you’d like to change. I have thought about this question a lot over the years. And I’ve come up with a lot of answers. Things like removing disunity, organisational change, facilitating an embrace of new styles of worship and music. I’m always curious about this question. I always wonder why people ask me this question. Is it because I’ve experienced many churches in my Christian life? Is it because I’m a student of theology? Is it because I have a deep interest in the church? Is it because one day I’m going to be a Vicar? I don’t know, but something causes people to ask what I would change about the church. And then I start to wonder about the purpose behind asking me this particular question. I have to say, this is a lot simpler to discover as opposed to wondering what it is about me that causes people to ask me this question.

But my feeling is that the reason why this question is being asked so much is because people are not content with the church as it is now. This throws up another question though, doesn’t it? Should we be content with the church as it is now? There’s so much wrong in the Church, and things in the Church that could be done so much better.

In order to answer this, I would suggest that the thing the Church needs is simply more of Jesus. Yes, it is a Sunday School answer, but it’s true.

The Church as it is today is struggling to keep it’s head above water simply because we as Christians can forget the fact that it is in fact Christ who is the head of the Church and not ourselves. We also neglect to love the Church as we should. And Christ, the God of Love, loves his Bride, the Church. And because we follow Christ, we should love the Church too.

Do you really think there would be such disunity if the Church was completely focussed on Christ as opposed to predestination, gifts of the  Spirit and the mysteries of heaven? I don’t think so. Yet there is disunity. Granted, we are more unified than our ancestors were in the church, but that isn’t an excuse to be content with how things are in the Church in certain ways.

No, it is time, rather than whining and whingeing about the church, to welcome Christ in, and let him take control of it. If only we did this, we wouldn’t be in the mess that we so often make of church business.

Ephesians 4:1-6

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to one hope when you were called- one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Having said all this, do you think I’ve been harsh? What have I missed out? What would you, out of curiosity, say that the church needs to add or get rid of to be more how Christ would want the church?


Dean Roberts

Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre. Read More @ http://deanroberts.net/about

  • AJ

    I guess an issue I’ve been struggling with within the church would be it’s idea of ‘cultural relevance’ and how ‘meeting people where they’re at’ has become a lets look and act just like them so nobody could tell any difference then let’s sneak in the odd jesus comment. Trying to deal with it humbly and patiently though because there’s always a chance that I’m wrong as well lol…

    • Hey AJ,
      I think it’s a case of how far we take cultural relevance. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being culturally relevant and meeting people where they’re at. But when we compromise truth and our integrity that’s when it get’s out of hand. Cultural relevance isn’t meant to be sneaky evangelism. It’s meant to be being salt and light in the situations and places that our current culture is at.
      A problem you do see in certain Christian circles is a misunderstanding of the term ‘cultural relevance’. They simply translate this term as ‘mimicking current culture’, which leads them to a slippery slope where moral values are relaxed all for the sake of ‘cultural relevance’, the term which has been misunderstood. This obviously doesn’t make someone culturally relevant; it simply means that they deny aspects of Christian life and morality just to simply ‘be’ with those who don’t know Christ yet. Which is why sometimes I’m amazed to see someone in church who I never thought was a Christian, simply because they go out with their friends all the time, get hammered amongst everything else, and then post their pictures on Facebook the next morning. And then they’re in church with me and nodding at every mention in the sermon about being culturally relevant. Can cultural relevance be warped into an excuse for living a double life? I think so. Though being culturally relevant the way Christ wants us to be is an amazing opportunity to bring Jesus into those cultural situations.

  • The Church is the Bride of Christ, after all, so I would agree with you. Wanting anything else other than a closer union with Christ would just be trivial or – as AJ pointed out – superficial. Besides, it’s from that very union we have our existence: what else could be more important? Ultimately the fruits that we all want (love, faith, forgiveness, salvation, evangelism etc) are fruits that are borne of Christ, not us with our arguments and egos.

    • Amen to that!

  • I think to say we are more united than our Church forefathers is untrue. They at least disgreed on points of theology – we disagree on songs, carpet colour, sex of the vicar, sexuality of the vicar, flowers, noticeboards, and occasionally theology.

    • This is true, but from my experience, whilst all these things are there, people generally will let those things go to keep the main thing the main thing, and to unite together in claiming towns for Christ.

      I say this in a Welsh context, where it was once very important to people as to what denomination you were. Now, it isn’t so much and Wales has seen really good church grown (spiritually) from that barrier being taken away.