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The faucet in my children’s bathroom has a very slow drip. It has dripped from the first day we moved in, over six years ago, so I know it dripped before we moved in. I need to fix it, but I haven’t yet because while it might just need a ring replacement, I could be looking at replacing the whole faucet. There have been other higher priority things to fix in the house. The whole bathroom needs remodeling anyway, and I don’t have the money for that right now.

Because I don’t use that sink very often, the drip, which is really not that bad, hasn’t gotten any worse in six years. I have a lot a lot of excuses, but I’m sure every guest who uses that bathroom notices the faucet doesn’t quite turn off.

When we are in our own house, we learn to live with some degree of imperfection. It’s not that we don’t try to have our home in order, but there is not always time, money, skill or will for repairs. The same is true of a church, and by “church,” I mean both a facility and the people.

Heartwood Church has a 60-year-old facility with a 30-year-old addition. My first winter here, I noticed the roof leaked. The reply I received from everyone was, “The roof has always leaked. We patch it every year, but it still leaks.” The roof had in fact been leaking for 30 years (a generation!), ever since the remodel, and it had come to be accepted.

I made it my mission for us to fix the roof, which eventually we did along with numerous other neglected and emergency repairs. However, even my eyes were not immune to growing acceptance of the defects in my own house.

Two years ago, our congregation went through a church revitalization consultation, Maximizing Impact, in which a team of outside eyes examined our focus, ministries and facility in order to provide us improvement recommendations. I don’t think there was one item on the consult team’s list that I hadn’t noticed myself at some point. But there had been so much to do, not enough resources, not enough will and not enough organization that, just like the roof leak, we had gotten used to our dysfunction.

Individually, we who call ourselves followers of Christ, need the light and resourcing from the Holy Spirit to fix broken things that we have gotten accustomed to.

First Corinthians 6:19, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” applies to the Church as Christ’s body and the individual Christian. While we couldn’t fix our church roof until we had the money, “God’s divine power has given us everything required for a godly life through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3).

Transformation is not always easy or quick, but in light of the transforming power of Jesus’ blood and the renewing Holy Spirit, excuses such as, “My porn addiction doesn’t hurt anyone,” “God made me this way,” “I can do what I want with my money,” “I can stop anytime,” “I’m too young to take responsibility” or “I’m too old to change,” sound as weak as they actually are when we have been washed, sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:11).

The ongoing transformation of the Heartwood Church facility reminds and encourages me of the ongoing transformation that God is also doing in lives, churches, and communities. The roof needed fixing, but we are here to make disciples.

I have a faucet to go fix, but I am here to love God, love others and live holy. What have you been ignoring in your house?

Paul Tillman

Paul Tillman is the pastor at Heartwood Church in Oakdale, Minnesota. He is ordained in The Wesleyan Church and an oblate of St. Benedict at St. Paul’s Monastery. Tillman grew up and worked in multicultural communities in California before moving with his family to the St. Paul, Minnesota, Metro Area, with his wife, Jennifer, and two daughters, Sophia and Elizabeth.
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