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If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know (let’s politely say) I’m on the lower end of the bell curve when it comes to fixing anything. If you’re a car, furnace, leaky roof, broken appliance, you’re out of luck.  I wont’ even attempt a Chris Martin and “try to fix you” (yeah, that’s bad).

(My greatest success story in fighting an “Ice Dam” that formed on our roof last week was simply not adding an additional consonant to the end of that second word).

My name is Erik, and I am constructionally challenged.

And sometimes I think the Church is, too.

We’re broken people. All of us. Some of our brokenness is more socially acceptable, but all of us are cracked. Flawed at the foundation. But our churches are usually more wired to build up, not root up. To look up, not necessarily dig under the surface.

Read another book. Complete another study. Build Christian friendships. Attend another service. Subscribe to more Christian podcasts. Listen to positive and encouraging Christian music. Ingest more God-information. Construct a bigger God-edifice and you’ll effectively swallow up those broken places.

These are all worthy and noble pursuits. Imperative pieces to our Christian journey. But thrown at a shattered foundation, I fear they’re just masking an impending disaster.

I know what some of you are saying. “Hey, our church has a 12 step program. We even have a small group for porn addicts. And a staff counselor for people having marital problems.” Great! Don’t quit.

But I’m not talking about the brokenness that’s easy to see. Compartmentalize. Separate into one of those “dysfunctional boxes” that allow us to express pity with a little side of self-righteousness.

I’m talking about you and me.

Self-reliance. Materialism. Insecurity. Control. Self-protections. Immaturity. Arrogance. Past rejection. Religious abuse. Things we believe about God that just aren’t true. (Do you want to keep brainstorming this list together?)

These are just a few of the “respectable” cracks and fissures we easily overlook, drowned under a deluge of God-knowledge and socially acceptable church-culture behavior. Yet underneath, these godly facades are fueled by depression, anxiety, doubt, and fear. Do any of those words describe you?

Broken foundations.

So what’s the answer?

I think we’ve got to commit to getting our hands dirty. We need each other. The beauty and risk of godly community is where we find the courage to identify and call our broken places. But these aren’t issues we can simply reason, talk, or will our way out of.

The ultimate remedy is repentance.

Repentance begins the Jesus journey. Allows Him to begin miraculously doing what only He can do. What He promised to do. Fix our cracked foundation. I don’ care how long you’ve been a Christian, it’s time for an assessment.

What if the Church became great at repenting? At rooting out as well as building up? What if we stopped ignoring the broken places? What if we found the courage to lovingly take them on? In ourselves? In one another?

We’re not doing this well. Not yet. But this is one area of construction I’m determined to become skilled at.

For any of you out there contemplating the start of a new church, I have a bit of advice.  Listen to me now.  This is important.  Tuck it away somewhere where you can look back on it regularly.  This isn’t shared in any of the church planting books or boot camps, but I’m telling you, this little nugget will save you a massive migraine.

Building a church with people who really want to follow Jesus is a bad idea.

I know.  Sounds crazy.  But it’s true.

Jesus followers are bad church builders.  Well, at least the kind of “church” a lot of us immediately sketch in our minds when we hear the familiar word.

As a church leader, prefer those who are just looking for some friends.  Those longing for relational connections with a few God overtones.  Those who want to build their social hierarchy around a church culture.  They’re so much easier to deal with.

Look for people who are settled. In control.  Those who have painted a vivid, stable picture of their futures – their destinies, what they want for their lives – and then just want to sprinkle a little God into the sauce like oregano or thyme (seriously, isn’t thyme is such an under-appreciated seasoning?).

Passion is good.  Passion for you. For your sermons and preferred style of worship.  For your kids program or the layout of your building. This kind of passion stays put. On course.  And barring an unforeseen transfer or poorly calculated misstep on your part (i.e. changing the color of the carpet in the lobby), stays solidly attached to your congregation.

Stay far away from Jesus followers.

They’re the ones connected directly to Christ, not just your church organization. The ones that quit serving their own egos.  That derive life from Jesus as their internal source, and begin listening and responding to His leading.

They start dreaming.  Creating.  Taking action.  Following.  Jesus.

And that’s dangerous, because sometimes He will ask them to do things that don’t benefit you. That destabilize your organization.  That may throw off your church growth game plan.  For instance…

They might invest $18,000 to bring an Ethiopian orphan into their home instead of donating to the capital campaign fund.

They may spend an evening helping a single mom clean out her garage instead of attending the church prayer meeting.

Sometimes they’ll even do things like move to other cities or countries because Jesus tells them their presence is required there. Crazy!

Yep, Jesus followers are terrible church builders.  I suggest you stay away from them.  They’re just too unstable. Too radical.  Too Kingdom minded.  Too dead to their own agendas.  Too busy building The Church to always help you focus on building your church.  They’re far too enamored with following Jesus.