RELIGION COLUMN: A case for the church

Published 3:23 pm Wednesday, September 9, 2015

By Chanel Bingham

The church is not perfect. Many people, including myself, have been hurt or wounded by the very people who are part of a church body. Sadly, it is within the environment of the church that people sometimes experience the cruelest attacks against their faith. They are left feeling disillusioned and confused by their experience, and for some people, one negative or hurtful experience can cause them to discard church altogether.



In writing this article, I want you to know that I understand those feelings. I understand the pain, hurt and disillusionment, because I have experienced all of those things and more at the hands of the church. And I must admit, it was one of the most painful experiences of my life. However, in looking back at all the pain I endured, it turned out to be the single most defining experience to date in helping me to develop a deeper relationship with God, a deeper level of forgiveness toward others and a greater sense of kindness toward all people.

The church is not perfect, but neither are we. Despite my own painful experiences, I have come to learn that we need the church and the church needs us.

Although dysfunctional at times, the church provides us with a sense of family: a wonderfully diverse family who supports, prays and stands in the gap for one another. It also provides us with a community where people of varying backgrounds, cultures, perspectives and ideas come together to lift high the name of Jesus. The church also shows us how to love. The life of Jesus gives us a perfect example of what it means to love people that are different than us. As Christians, we are commanded to extend that great love to all people, even those people who do not think, act or look like us. We are called to go beyond just tolerating others, but to engage in genuine and authentic love and the building of relationships with one another.

The church also needs us. 1 Corinthians 12:14-20 shows us how the Body of Christ works together:

Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. (New International Version)

We are all created in God’s image, given unique gifts and talents to be used for the glory of God and the betterment of one another. I cannot do it without you, and you cannot do it without me. We can all learn from each other, making each of us a better version of ourselves. And when we come to the understanding that each person plays a necessary role in the church body, it is only then that the church is able to operate in the way God designed it to function.

Churches are made up of people, and we all know that people are not perfect. Yet we must extend grace and love, knowing that God wants to use us to make a difference. The pain can make us want to withdraw, but some of the most loving and lasting relationships that I have developed in my life have been formed in the church. My dearest friendships have been formed in the church. My greatest trials have been overcome through the prayers of those faithful individuals in the church, and my greatest joys have been celebrated by members of a church family.

I believe one of the greatest ways to form those connections and relationships is through worshiping and serving together. Chilton County is home to over 130 churches, each offering varying styles of worship and outreach. In my next article and periodically throughout my column, I will highlight local churches and feature ways they are working to make a difference in the lives of those in our community. Through highlighting various churches in our area, I hope you are encouraged to find a church where you belong.

In closing, I pray that if you have ever been hurt by the church and abandoned it altogether, you will allow God to bring healing to those wounds and reconciliation in your heart. It make take a while to find the church that God wants you to be a part of, but don’t give up. Remember, we all need each other!

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

-Chanel Bingham is a freelance writer, blogger and public speaker. She resides in Thorsby with her husband and four children. You can visit Chanel at or on Facebook at The Polished Canvas. Look for her next column in a future edition of The Clanton Advertiser.