Brooke Ligertwood: How to Love Your Local Church

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Brooke Ligertwood served Hillsong Church in Australia for 15 years as a songwriter and worship leader and currently lives in Los Angeles, California where she is a part of the core leadership team for Hillsong LA. Brooke has written many well-known worship anthems that have marked the history of modern worship such as “Hosanna,” “Desert Song,” “None But Jesus,” “Lead Me to the Cross,” and “What a Beautiful Name.” After years of serving her church, Brooke has a passion for the Global Church and the Bride of Christ. Keep reading to learn about four ways you can better love and serve your local church. 

Loving The Church

To fully understand who God is forming us into, we have to see the Church through His eyes. The enemy desperately wants to limit our view and distort our perspective on church. He keeps us thinking small about it; he tempts us to keep taking it down and throwing our hands up in exasperation. He wants us to think of the church as a McDonald’s when it’s more like the Milky Way Galaxy. When we get a revelation and a tiny glimpse of how God sees the church, what church is, and what it will be, all hell gets nauseous.

We are not an only child in the Kingdom. The people around us are sons and daughters, which means we have brothers and sisters, whether we like it or not. We are a part of a body, a family, a house, a home, and a people.

“How God forms ‘me’ is inextricably linked to what God is forming in us as ‘we’ — the church.” – Brooke Ligertwood 

You calling is discovered in the context of being a part of the house of God. You can’t fully grasp what God is doing in you until you get a revelation of what God is doing in “us.” To get a better revelation of who God is making us, we have to see the church through the eyes of faith. To see the full reality of what The Church could be in all her brilliance, we can take hold of our faith and move it into action in these four ways.


1. Stay Meeting

Stick with it and be faithful to the church long enough to see what God sees. We get distracted by what we don’t see or what we do see, but if we look long enough, there’s another picture that the Holy Spirit wants to show us. He’s always doing something beautiful despite our imperfection; we just have to look for it.

We can’t order our church experience like we do at Starbucks. We can’t choose who’s going to be preaching that day or what the song list will be, or even if the worship leader will be singing in tune or not. But that’s the whole point because when we keep coming to church and keep meeting, we are a part of what God is doing globally, not just what He’s doing in us. 

“God uses what is happening in the Church to make us into the people of God, and He’s doing it through out-of-tune worship leaders, weird messages and awkward people we don’t want to sit next to.” – Brooke Ligertwood

Proverbs 18:1 says, “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.”

When we are separated from one another, that’s a crime scene, not a body. 



2. Stay Eating  

The Israelites met together in the temple courts, but they broke bread in each other’s homes. When Jesus had Passover with his disciples, they broke bread, and He said, “Whenever you do this, do it in remembrance of me.” When bread was broken miracles happened. Bring the church into your homes—gather around the Bible and the Word of God, and eat together. When you sit at a table with someone, they stop being a character or a cliche, and they become a flesh and blood person in the image of God that we can learn from.

“If I only see you in the context of a church building, I can’t get to know you. We need to break down our imaginary ideas of who people are and journey with them.” – Brooke Ligertwood



3. Stay Low

“Healthy serving indicates freedom.” – Brooke Ligertwood

When you see people who have a healthy relationship with serving, that is a sign of full security, identity, and freedom in Christ. The healthiest way to serve is from a place of freedom. In John 14:15, Jesus says, “If you love me you will keep my commandments.” When we serve each other, love for Jesus overflows and spills out on one another.

“How many of you have been distracted by other people in church before? We can be so judgy. That person with the weird clothes might be a warrior in the Spirit, but you won’t know that until you serve together. That’s how we find Christ in each other and how Jesus reveals himself.” – Brooke Ligertwood

Nobody is so poor he has nothing to give, and nobody is so rich he has nothing to receive. Serving teaches us bilingual humility. 



4. Stay Close

When the disciples had Passover with Jesus, John was the one reclining on Jesus’ chest. Jesus told them that one of them would betray him. Because John was the closest to Jesus, the other disciples asked him to ask Jesus who it was. 

“When we get close to the heart of God, what do we hear?” – Brooke Ligertwood

We hear His heart for the nations, the suffering and the lost. We hear His heart for the church and His bride. 

When Peter denied Jesus, he went back to fishing. One day he saw Jesus on the shore, and he realized that it was the Lord. Imagine what it felt like to let down the person you love most in the world. It’s no surprise that Peter jumps into the water and gets to Jesus as fast as he can. They have breakfast together, and restoration happens around a meal. Jesus allows him to redeem denying Him three times by saying, “I love you” three times. Jesus then says, “If you love me, feed my sheep.” It’s like He was saying, “Now that we are close again, this is my heart, feed my sheep.”



Let’s Choose to Love The Church

1 Peter 2:5 says, “You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

Skimming stones have to be a particular smoothness and dimension to skim on the water. They only become perfect through rubbing up against other stones. When stones rub against each other that usually creates fire and destruction. That’s not the kind of friction that creates the right type of smoothness for skimming. The dimension needed for skimming is only formed when stones rub against each other in a river. It’s okay that we rub up against each other, but we’ve got to stay close. Let’s choose that no matter how hard it is, we will love The Church, and we will love the members of our Body—The Body of Christ— with our whole lives. 

Watch Brooke’s message “Loving the Church” from WorshipU On Campus