Antonio Clinkscales helps you find perfection in an imperfect place
How many churches have you attended or visited in your lifetime? How many times have you left a particular church or even thought about it? Whatever you may be going through at this moment in your life, there is a reason there is a church on nearly every street corner – the inner strength you need to make it from day to day lies within the right one [church]. For many, the “church” is perceived as a sacred structure where one seeks a spiritual being greater than oneself. The edifice, itself, is not perfect. The perfect heavenly house is not sought in a building made of brick and mortar but rather in flesh and blood says author and preacher Antonio Clinkscales, who describes the path to the perfect church in his inspirational book, How To Find The Perfect Church (Kingdom Publishing Group, Inc.; $15.99). Perfection and church are synonymous (Genesis 1:26; Ephesians 5:27) when you are not looking through earthly eyes. Perhaps you are looking for flawlessness in all the wrong places especially when perfection is staring you in the face.
“Finding the perfect church is a spirit-led process that allows you to, over time, find liberation, peace, and serenity in knowing that God knows, God cares and God is working things out on your behalf,” says Clinkscales, a 40 year-old minister in Virginia and the founder of both Restoring Souls Ministries and Whole Armour a mentoring organization for young men. Clinkscales uses his own personal struggles with finding the perfect church to illustrate many challenges we have or may encounter along our spiritual journey. Clinkscales openly shares his early church experiences through adulthood in hopes to enlighten and empower people to begin the search today for finding what Jesus Christ will be seeking on Judgment Day!
I was determined to find what was missing in my life in order to fill the emptiness inside. For many years I masked my true self knowing somewhere deep within remained divine purpose and a better life. I discovered through trials and tribulations that worldly pleasures, more money, and climbing up the corporate ladder were not the perfect places towards wholeness, purpose, and fulfillment. My inner strength to endure came as a direct result of my recommitment to God and obedience to his voice. Pressing through day-to-day obstacles allowed me to comprehend that God permits adversity to enter into my life to bless me rather than curse me. While searching for direction I sought the church for refuge. In many instances, the place where I thought I would find direction actually led me astray. Thus, I blamed some people within the church as well as the church as a whole. My solution was to leave the church, but the resentment and pain still festered in my heart which hindered me from reaching my spiritual destination. It was at that moment that God instructed me in my spirit to write my church story down on paper. Writing your church story opens the doors for God to enter into your situation and begin the healing, forgiveness, and deliverance process towards wholeness. God wanted me to write it down on paper because I had excluded God, the master fixer, from the healing process. Everyone has a church story even if one has never stepped foot in a church, the reason why one does not believe in the regular fellowship of the saints, is, in fact, one’s church story. Too often we attempt to deal with situations ourselves without God’s input. We must trust God and his providential will for our lives.
The next step is defining what a perfect church is. Meaning, “We fool ourselves into thinking that we’ve arrived at the perfect church and that life is ideal when we have found the perfect pastor, the perfect choir, or even the perfect pew.” Not to be misunderstood, leaving your current place of worship next Sunday is not the solution but rather you should be motivated to find a place of worship where you can be free to praise, worship, learn, mature, and serve God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24); ultimately, figuring out God’s plan for your life in order for you to walk in your divine purpose. Didactic sermons, angelic-like choirs or friendly members aid in positioning us to hear from, God, but they aren’t what we are seeking along our journey towards the perfect church. Then, inner strength increases when you remove the hindrances to finding the perfect church such as pride, unforgiveness, and lying. According to the word of God, pride, unforgiveness, and lying will quickly turn God’s ear and hand away from his people. These issues reside in your heart and until you begin to prepare a clean heart for God to reside, then the perfect church will continue to be just church with no power, fulfillment, or transformation. Along the journey Clinkscales found favor and stability whereby he no longer stumbled off the path of righteousness by every unfortunate turn of events in his life because he was ready to Test The Spirit. Testing the Spirit is the step for purposeful living in all aspects of your life which keeps you continually moving towards your spiritual goal. Finally, after years of searching, Clinkscales arrived at his expected end – the perfect church. Being a willing, available, and able vessel for God to use for kingdom building is just cause for celebration. Arriving at this perfect place within an imperfect world is a tremendous accomplishment in which you rightly deserve to dance and shout in victory.
Everyone possesses unending power to endure life’s most difficult circumstances. Persevering during tough times increases your power to become more in life. When you are no longer satisfied mentally, physically, or spiritually with where you are – that is the supernatural power you need to stay the course towards the place where God would have you to be. Clinkscales describes the steps to finding the perfect church as follows:
1. Dedicate or rededicate your life to God
2. Write your church story
3. Define the perfect church for you
4. Remove the hindrances
5. Test the spirit
6. Celebrate where God is leading you
Reverend Antonio “Tony” Clinkscales, is a native of South Carolina and the youngest of three sons of Dr. William Clinkscales, Sr., and Juanita Clinkscales. He is a dynamic preacher, teacher, inspirational speaker, and author who is passionate about drawing people into a closer relationship with God. Reverend Clinkscales is the founder and CEO of Restoring Souls Ministries, Inc., an organization that, through the biblical scripture Psalms 23:3 “he restores my soul,” leads people to wholeness. In addition, through this ministry, Reverend Clinkscales is the author of the thought provoking and inspiring new book How To Find The Perfect Church.