Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Church - A Support Group For Sinners

I have heard, and I am sure you have, the excuse of why many don't go to church. "I'm not going to church because they are a bunch of sinners and hypocrites." My response would be yes, yes we are a group of sinners and hypocrites. Why not speak the truth that church is a support group for sinners?

We hurt each other and say ugly things and even catch ourselves speaking judgment upon someone. We tend to equate the sin with the person doing the sinning as if they are one in the same. It makes them seem "dirty" when the real "dirtiness" is thinking that we are above them somehow and maybe that is where churches have gone wrong.

I am honest with my congregation. I told them as they were hiring me, that if you are looking for a perfect person, then I am not your man. I told them I am a sinner. You are a sinner. We all are sinners. "For all have sinned fallen short of the glory of God,"(Rom.3:23).

After I told the congregation that I was a sinner, they treated me as approachable and normal. Why would telling them that I am a sinner do that? Have you ever said that? Share it with us.

As any support group, we try to better ourselves. The church strives to encourage each other to good, (Heb10:24). We strive to walk in the light doing good to all men, (1 John 1:1-8). We understand that we are going to sin and make mistakes, but we are covered by the grace of God, (Eph 2:1-10). We support each and love each other, (Col. 3).

Everyday we sin. You sin. I sin. The difference is the Christian is covered by the grace of God and we ideally have a support group of people who are encouraging us, helping us when are in need, praying for us, studying the word of God with us as we strive to get to our final destination - heaven.

This support group is better than AA, NA, or OA because it is a support group that is eternal. It should be helping sinners get to their final destination.

The questions I have are:
Have you ever thought of the Church as a support group for sinners? Do we see ourselves as sinner when we go to Church? As I did, would your church be okay with your minister saying he is a sinner, just like you? If we haven't seen ourselves as a support group for sinners what can we do change it by getting more sinners in our churches so we can help them? Do you have a hard time seeing the church as a support group for sinners, why? How does the world see us? Do the see us as a place where they can come without judgement? Do the see the church as a support group for sinners? What can change their view?

What do you think?
Share your thoughts.


Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

I so much agree with you here and this post reminds me much of Bonhoeffer's "Life Together".

Anyhow, yes- our church, especially the pastors are healthy this way. I'm nore open this way. And in the context as you speak of it here: never excusing our sin (like some vibes I think I get from some), but acknowledging that we are sinners who do sin, and need each other to help us grow in the way of righteousness and holiness in Jesus. And that this endeavor will continue together, as long as this life shall last.

4:56 PM  
Blogger japhy said...

The Church is a museum of saints, a hospital for sinners, and the house of God. (Please remember to wash up before the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.)

Every Mass begins with an Act of Penitence: we seek forgiveness before we go any further. Prayer begins with repentance.

9:38 PM  
Blogger David Kirk said...

It is very easy to pretend we have no sin and/or excuse our sins.

11:11 PM  
Blogger NaNcY said...

how is see it...

well, since i have not seen one perfet person yet, i would say that we are all in the same boat.

and as far as getting more people into the body in which Christ is the Ruler over all. well, i would say that we do what God wants for us to do. people do not have to come to a service in a building for thier neighbor to help them, or talk and share with them. God is into relationship.

so much for my two cents!

God bless you, brother.

11:52 PM  
Blogger cwinwc said...

Yes to all the questions. It all starts with our preacher who has been ever open about his life in the Navy serving in Submarines. He said the song, "What do you do with a Drunken Sailor" was his life's story.

From there the concept of worshipping in Spirit and Truth as in taking my mask off before God is working it's way through our church.

Thanks for your post.

6:15 AM  
Blogger Gary Cleveland said...

First off, thank you Kinney for your recent kind words in response to a recent post on my blog. I have read a number of your recent posts and they all resonate with the authenticity and genuineness we all strive for. Regarding the "Support Group for Sinners" piece, I can't agree more. Henri Nouwen has a fine little book, Wounded Healer, which makes the case that our own wounds, imperfections and flaws provide us with a most marvelous platform for ministering to a wounded world.

By the way, the post on my blog you responded to has spawned an additional blog with the focus of keeping the church alive. You can find it at

May the Father continue to bless you, brother!

9:45 AM  
Blogger Tim Archer said...

I definitely agree. And just to show that great minds think alike, see Sinners Anonymous on my blog.

Grace and peace,

10:22 AM  
Blogger laymond said...

Kinney; If a preacher claims to be sinless, why would you believe anything else he might say?

1Jn:1:8: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Preacherman: I want to respond to a comment you left over on West Cocoa Chat ... would you send me an email??
As for this post, when I was preaching in Long Beach, CA (15 years), I was not only very open about being a sinner, they knew my sins and loved / supported me unconditionally. We were moving in that direction as a church ... one of our elders is 33 years into his recovery from drugs and alcoholism and very open about that struggle. When the leadership is open about being a support group, the church will follow.

On the other hand, at a church in Florida I commented one Sunday about my struggle with sin and was called aside by the retired preacher's wife who said I should never do that ... the preacher should be a model of strength to the church. Needless to say, I was not the right preacher for that church!

12:33 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

It is neat how you posted this because our pastor pretty much got through teaching on this, not in so many words, but it was pretty much the same.

I thank God for His grace through the blood of Jesus and that I am not the judge of all. I have no room to judge anyone. All I can do is try my best to be a servant as Christ was a servant.

When I minister to others I am very quick to point out the fact that I sin daily and do not judge them because I am not perfect at all. It is very important to seperate the sin from the person, especially when we forgive others who hurt us. That is what happens when we are forgiven.

Great post!

9:23 PM  
Blogger Gord said...

Thanks for this post, Kinney. It stands as a reminder of our absolute dependency on the all-sufficiency of Christ, and Christ alone. Yet, we are more than just sinners - we are saints - we are bought and paid for by the blood of the lamb. We all need encouragement to live out the mystery of our faith - Christ in you, the hope of glory. Blessings, brother. (from a fellow sinner, and saint, on the journey)

10:12 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Ummm... hello, my name is Jim and I am a sinner. I am not sure when it first came about, but sin became part of my life before I was aware of it, and even now I struggle with it's addictions.

Why does it have to be something that a minister tries to pretend happens to other people only? Who decided that pearl of wisdom? Paul was open and honest about it... why can't I be?

Wretched man that I am...

10:56 PM  
Blogger Stacie said...

That was a great post preacherman. That is very cool, church as a support group for sinners. I think that one thing that some churches could learn from NA and AA is anonymity, wow some church members love gossip they could learn from their saying: what you hear here, let it stay here....... Just my opinion..

11:12 PM  
Blogger Milly said...

Thank God it is a support group!

1:46 AM  
Blogger jel said...

Morning Preacherman!

have a great day!

take it easy on the coffee! :)

9:36 AM  
Blogger mellis1808 said...

Me? I need a blow up altar because I sin just about every five feet.

Was in an accountability group once. The question was, "What sin did you committ since the last time we met?"

One of the men said, "I can't think of anything"

I said, "Thanks for coming to our meeting Jesus"

9:38 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

What about the world? How do they view the church? Is it an inviting place? If not how do we make it an inviting place where they see that we are sinner just covered by the grace of God? Chew on this.

9:38 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

I was praying about this yesterday concerning the Body of Christ.
It is because of sin and hiding it in the church that there is such a bad view of the church. (Well, maybe not hiding it all of the time) A lot of people are put off by the greed that they have seen, and by the fact that they aren't excepted because their hair is purple and green, they have too many tattoos, they have 5 children out of wedlock, they are addicted to drugs and alcohol and want clean, etc. They don't feel love. I think that is changing, but it is still part of the Body of Christ. When the church begins to repent and get humble, then, God can use the church and love will flow. There needs to be a healing take place because there are so many hurt people and they became hurt by the church.

I believe that God has started to bring things to light that are done in secret. There has to be a change so that the world sees that the church is a place of refuge and hope and love.

10:50 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

I think that is the way many of our generation feel about Church. You are not alone. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.

Sometimes when I visit certian church I just wish they would take off the mask and be authentic with who they really are and admit that they do sin and struggle. Paul did it, why can't we?

Sometime in pray I think why aren't cofessing our sins to one another as it says in the Bible. Wouldn't that make us closer. One of the things I did with the teens when I was a youth minister was in class is I would tell the teens to share the ups and downs and it had to be real and authentic. We would pray about it. And you know what happenened the youth group would get stronger and it would grow.

Thanks Heather for sharing your thoughts and adding so much to the discusion it means so much.

12:02 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Why is it so hard for Christians to be authentic? We are all sinners.

12:03 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

It is my prayer that we as Christians and minister with be authentic about who we are and that people will see that we are just like them except covered by the grace of God. I hope as minister we can be honest with our abou who we really are that we are human just lack the others in the congregation. I pray that we will love each other like Christ commands us to love; that we will be one as He is ONE. I hope that we will have such an atmospher of love and grace is that the Church of Christ will be know for being that kind of people. I hope that when people come to our churches that they will welcome, loved, excepted, that they will feel the power of the Holy Spirit moving within the congregation. God help us to do your will to be the church you want us to be. May you peace, grace, hope, love, always be seen in us and over flow in the community and those around us.

9:33 PM  
Blogger NaNcY said...

i think that Jesus is the best support for His body/church and through His body/church. can't get better support than that for a bunch of sinners.

10:50 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

You are so right.

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