Fellowship at Cross Creek is known as the “Imperfect Church for Imperfect People”. Since our days at the corner of Highway 76 and T Highway (aka, Long Beach Road), our name may not be familiar to many in the greater Branson area, but if you mention our tag line of the Imperfect Church, most people say, “Oh, yeah, I know that church.”
Branding can be very powerful. Words like Coke, Kleenex, Band-Aid, Crayola, and Google are much more than just names of companies or products, some brand names become synonyms for the product or service they provide. Slogans can be just as powerful. “It Takes a Licking, and Keeps on Ticking.” “Where’s the beef?” “The Other White Meat.” “Just Do It.” I do not have to mention the brand names associated with these famous marketing slogans.
Sometimes, branding is intended for internal audiences. “Quality is Job One” was first used to remind Ford workers of the need to reverse decades of increasing manufacturing defects. Nothing happens at Silver Dollar City that cannot pass the standard of “Making Memories Worth Repeating”.
An Imperfect Church for Imperfect People is directed to and serves as a reminder for the people at Fellowship that neither we nor our church align perfectly with God’s will. It is a recognition that we live in a fallen, degraded world. Perfection existed in the beginning, just as God intended His creation to be. But, sin introduced imperfection into the world, and the world and everyone in it (with One notable exception) has been flawed ever since. Dealing with the margin between perfection and imperfection is the basis for discipling fellow believers, as we seek to shift that line closer and closer to Christ-like perfection.
The concept of being perfect, as used in the New Testament, can mean something other than without flaw or blemish. Often, the word used is to indicate completion or wholeness, and has reference to the world of craftsmen. A true craftsman would not consider his work to be finished until he had perfected his creation, removing or correcting any flaws or imperfections he could see.
Being an imperfect church for imperfect people in an imperfect world does not give us license to remain imperfect, or at least as imperfect as we are today. The purpose of Fellowship is “to create the biblical, Spiritual environment that encourages Christ-like Spiritual birth, growth and maturity”. Becoming Christ-like is our mission on earth. The precious blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed me from my sins, and makes me pure in the sight of God. It is through Christ’s righteousness that I am sanctified. But, that should never be the end of it. Maturing means I am to continually become more like Christ and His perfection. We, as individuals or as a church, are not to remain in this imperfect state. Paul teaches in Romans 8:20-22:
“For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.”
God did not create you and me, neither did Christ establish His church, to be imperfect. It is in this tension between corruption and perfection that we and Fellowship at Cross Creek (as all other New Testament churches) suffer and groan against the bondage of imperfection.
As we studied in our home church this week, to be Christ-like calls upon us to become fully human – that is, as human as God created us to be, and as perfectly human as Jesus of Nazareth lived His life. OK, we are not going to live in absolute perfection. I get that. But, we are called to perfection, in our personal lives and as a church. Toward that end, we can be so much more. More than well intentioned. More than settling for the comfort of expected and accepted imperfection.
We are Fellowship at Cross Creek, An Imperfect Church for Imperfect People, and I am happy to be a part of that. That is our brand. I just do not want to be content to remain so.
Kevin Huddleston is an Elder at Fellowship at Cross Creek in Branson, Missouri, An Imperfect Church for Imperfect People.