Some people drive by on Sunday mornings and see the church parking lot filled with cars, and they think church looks like kids with their shirts halfway tucked in, hair mostly combed, still rubbing sleep from their eyes.  Like women carrying Bibles and men wearing ties and uncomfortable shoes, and who would want to spend a Sunday like that?


They glimpse through the windows as they pass by, and think church looks like standing for the hymns and praying with your eyes closed.   Sitting through the sermon while glancing at your watch counting minutes until the benediction.

And while it might look like those things from the outside on a Sunday morning, church looks like so much more.


Sun through church windows 2

It’s the pastor who offers to help you move to a new apartment, and spends his Saturday standing on the toilet scrubbing mildew off the bathroom ceiling.

It’s the deacon who notices that your kids’ bicycles are broken, goes to the store to buy parts and fixes the bikes himself.

It’s the man who comes early to the prayer meeting on Wednesday nights to play roller hockey with your kids in the church parking lot.

It’s the friend who hears that your monthly fundraising support was low that month, and takes you grocery shopping.

It’s the women who gather for lunch in the middle of a work day to pray for those who grieve.

It’s the people who join hands and give your family enough airfare to fly across the Atlantic to visit your terminally ill mother.

And no, the church isn’t perfect.  Far from it.  We step on each other’s toes and we fumble the ball, but grace picks it back up again, and we keep running.

132922595_f860a8aa20_zAnd while fill the pews with combed hair and warm smiles, most of us sit there with scraped knees and bruised elbows from multiple spills on the concrete.  We have holes in our hearts, and we’re missing limbs.  But we take the battered limbs we have left, and we link arms, and we love.

Because He first loved us.


What does church look like to you?




Heart photo credit: David Goehring, Flickr Creative Commons


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11 thoughts on “what church looks like

  1. I’m so glad Lisa-Jo introduced us to you! Church looks like friends who pursue friendship with me even when I think they’re too pretty and put-together for my kind of ordinary.

  2. I love how you described what church must look like to the those passing by. I’ve been in ministry most of my life. I’ve seen the ugly side of church. But there is a very beautiful side that has been a “balm in Gilead” for me. I love the church and for me it looks like people who are on journey together to the same destination. When I am grieving or disappointed or fearful I find comfort in my traveling companions. Through their care I am strengthened to go on and give comfort to others. It’s the best way to travel.

    I’ve never linked up wtih a Five Minute Friday. I think I’ll start!

    • Stacy, you describe your relationship with the body of Christ with such winsome words. Thank you for sharing your heart. And yes, we would love to have you join us for Five Minute Friday! Careful, though .. once you start, it’s hard to stop! 😉

  3. Kate- This is so moving. I’ve experienced this kind of beauty in my church, and it’s true. It’s the very love of God in tangible form. What fellowship was meant to be. Your closing statements blew me away: “But we take the battered limbs we have left, and we link arms, and we love.” So powerful. Thanks for sharing your amazing gift.

  4. I love your portrayal of the church both outside and inside. As someone who has travelled a lot, church to me is home. Wherever I am in the world, if I find a body of believers I know they will welcome me as one of their own and I instantly find a place to belong whether I’m in Vienna Austria, Naples FL, Oradea Romania, San Francisco CA, or Cleveland OH. Church is home, and I’ll get to meet all my brothers and sisters throughout eternity. Such a blessing!

  5. Powerful! Those last few sentences cap-stoned it so well. I love how true community happens in the shadow of the Father and revitalizes every aspect of our broken lives.

  6. I love this Kate! (and those pictures! Gorgeous!) Church to me looks like real every day life… relationships and people investing… it is a Community of people who love, who offer grace, who challenge and encourage growth… it is beautiful and in my experience never ever contained to a building on a Sunday morning! Oh but it is there too! We are the Church… so wherever we go, Church can happen! Visiting from Jennifer’s today!

  7. I’m still struggling with church because the glimpses of His glory-love-in-others only peep through the cracks occasionally. I guess the important thing is to attend–and look for ways to be the glory-love and not just expect it of others.

  8. As someone who grew up in the church all my life, church to me is family. The 1st people to be on my graduation list, to arrive early & help with the decor & set up. The church is more than just Sunday service., but communion with the saints everyday. Church is more than what people see on Sunday. It’s what we church folks experience everyday after the Sunday service. That’s church to me.

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