What is Church (part 2)

“Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them”

Next Wednesday at 3:30PM *send*.

This is me, setting up my annual performance review.  I’m a little uncomfortable with the whole idea. I do great work! I show up every day. I’m fast with the computer. My patients and staff LOVE me. Why should I sit down with my medical director for an hour and talk about who-knows-what?

Prior to Wednesday I must complete a mandatory self-evaluation. Let’s look at the three goals I made last year. Hmmm, I cannot remember what they were. A big part of this is my quality scorecard. The numbers don’t lie: my through-put time has been below sixty minutes only ONE month the entire past year. There are goals for cancer screening and control of Diabetes and Hypertension. I see red boxes in several columns: FAIL!


Am I that bad?

Can I objectively gauge my own performance?

It takes an hour Wednesday afternoon, a profitable hour. We talk about the successes and failures of the past twelve months. We set three office goals to accomplish in the coming year. It’s a healthy mix of encouragement and exhortation. As I drive home, my mind is stirred up. What a privilege to be part of this team! I’m excited to make every office visit and every staff interaction a little better.

Do you want to grow?

We read the verse at the top of this post and we think about the time we were sitting around a campfire, just a few of us. Someone had a guitar. We started singing hymns. It was REAL. It was DEEPLY MOVING. Jesus was in our midst!

campfire praise.jpg

And that’s TOTALLY valid.

And that TOTALLY takes this verse out of context.

The context of this verse is accountability.

Jesus tells us how to resolve a disagreement. Matthew 18:15-20 records the multi-step process. First, have a one on one meeting, second, a meeting with two or three others. The final step is to take the problem before the whole gathering. If our brother who is in the wrong will not listen to the group, he is excluded from the fellowship. Jesus concludes this teaching with the statement that if two or three of us are together in his name, his power and presence are there.

We are saved by grace, through faith and NOT of works, so that NONE of us could boast. This is NOT works-based salvation or legalism.

Accountability faces the truth with love. The truth that I need to walk in community. The truth that many of my goals are uncompleted, even forgotten. The truth that I am not as good as I think I am. The truth that I am NOT able to objectively look at myself. Without input, I’ll get stuck in dysfunctional thought and behavior patterns for decades.

On the other side of the difficult conversation is renewed love for the gathering, fresh goals, and deeper motivation to live intentionally. What is church? Accountability.