Is there ever such a thing as the perfect church? Everyone worshipping together in perfect harmony; continuously adding new members and discipling them; inspiring preaching and leadership; generous giving; a shining light both within the local community and with the poor in other areas? Can there be such a church with no problems at all? Unfortunately never – this side of heaven!

Churches are made up of people, and every person not only brings gifts and strengths, but also difficulties. People do not always fit easily together. There are always surprises, tensions, disagreements and divisions. People also change or move on. People with special gifts may leave, become ill or die. It will take time for others to take on their role and they will do it in a different way.

But the vision of the perfect church, working together to bring the Kingdom of God closer, is one we can all work towards. Always remember the church is God’s way of working in this world. It should be the centre of all we do.

Vision is like a star. It is an ideal we can never reach, but if we follow it, we will make progress in the right direction.

Discussion 
  • If an ideal church represents 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 and a church with poor leadership, weak preaching, falling membership, all kinds of problems and disagreements and tensions represents 1, where would we place our church now? Where would we have placed our church a year or two earlier? What would help us move up the scale? What are the things our church does well?
  • What are the things we can thank God for about our church?
  • What positive changes would we really like to see in our church?
  • What are the main problems that our church has? How are we dealing with these? How could we help to resolve these problems?
  • Read Luke 10:25-27. Here Jesus reminds us, in just two sentences, of the challenge we should follow as Christians.
  • How are we to love God?
  • In the process of studying this guide, have we tried to love our neighbours in a different way? In what ways? Can we ever love our neighbours without meeting their physical, social and emotional needs?
  • How has the way we love God changed as a result of this guide?
  • Do we think the vision of a perfect church is a useful one to keep reminding ourselves about? Or should we just accept our church the way it is?
  • Read Ephesians 3:2-12.
    • Do we share in Paul’s excitement about the gospel?
    • How does this passage encourage us to continue moving forward?
  • Has the process of using this guide together as a church brought us nearer to the vision of becoming a ‘perfect church’?