Have you ever stopped to wonder about why we do what we do in church?
Was this how Jesus did “church”?
Was this how those first disciples and apostles did “church”?
How did some of these practices come to be…and what if we’re doing “Church” all wrong?
Let’s face it – Church is more than a building.
It is more than ceremony and ritual.
It goes deeper than the color of the carpets and how comfortable the pews are.
It is more than how much this entity gives to Missions, World Services and Benevolence funds.
Here are 3 ways (trust me there are more) that could indicate whether we’re going about “Church”
Erroneous Concept #1:
It’s all about the music –
Believe it or not, the role of music within the early church consisted more of chants than fancy electronics, strobe lights, amplified guitars and thumping drums. Many times the usage of music was more to bring to mind the works of psalmists and other well known songs of praise from the Torah. All of these songs or chants pointed to the Almighty. His deeds. What He has done for us.
Many people, within a wide demographic, (not just the younger generations) tend to gravitate to those churches that possess a rockin’ worship team. Many times the focus becomes more about the band playing all of our favorite worship songs than about the content of any scriptural teaching.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE, LOVE music. I love worship bands and performing/leading worship music…but it shouldn’t become the focus and sole identity to any church. People should not come and go solely because they like the music or they think the music stinks (or is too loud). These reason for staying or leaving a church seems to me to be very fickle and shallow. It almost says to me “I only go to church to be fed and I have no responsibilities other than receiving what I WANT”. -Don’t even get me started on traditional or contemporary styles either…SERIOUSLY does it truly matter in the grand scheme of things? It’s a preference, it shouldn’t dictate (or become the sole reason) which church you go to.
Erroneous Concept #2
Church is about MY entertainment…it’s all about the “show”!
It is both a blessing and a bane to grow up in such a media saturated culture.
We spend hours and hours a week on social media sites, we check the weather, sports, latest news feeds via our portable devices (even during church…ahem…)…and so when we view “Church” through THIS lens, we sometimes expect to be entertained at church as if it’s some sort of show. Why else go to church? (sarcastic font) Why else pause our latest episode on some season that we’re currently watching on netflix and come to church? In our day and age we want entertainment…and so we seek out those churches that “gets it”. We want videos, and music and drama so that we feel like we could reach for a bag of popcorn while singing “Mighty to save“…don’t choke on that kernel. (sarcasm again, sorry)
Is that how we truly view God as well?
Some higher divine form, God of the universe, the “Big Cheese” sent here to “entertain” us?
I mean, beyond the smoke and mirrors, and big screen tv’s and expensive sound systems…what sort of substance is there? Don’t get me wrong, there are some very slick churches that DO get the message across this way. I even use videos in my services, but is THIS all that “church” is about? Have we, in some way, lost our way? Are we so focused on ways to entertain that we have begun to lose the main reason we gather in the first place? And what does it say about us when our attention spans are so short that, in our minds, we’re flipping channels and checking our facebook status’ in church during the “boring parts”…oh what’s it called? Oh, that’s right THE MESSAGE or the teaching, or the sermon…whatever your church calls it. Could it be that we’re in search of the wrong things in church? Could it be that we demand these things in our worship while subconsciously we’re look every which way other than in the direction of Jesus?
Erroneous Concept #3
Church is all about “OUR” Fellowship and edification!
Sometimes our entire focus in Church remains “IN”.
Now, what do I mean by that?
What I mean is that sometimes we stop looking outside of our pretty buildings and fancy sanctuaries. Sometimes we stop looking into our own communities. We usually don’t do this on purpose. It’s just safer this way. It’s easier to just “hang out” with our church friends. It can almost become an exclusive social club where outsiders aren’t welcome…and if we do get the occasional visitor, either they fit into our mold or we just pity them. What happened to becoming “all things to all people”? (1 Corinthians 9:22) Do we care about others? Do we still care about the lost? The hurting? The broken? Or do we just wall ourselves up in our churches and expect those that view as sinners and wretches to just come to us if we sing all of the right songs and act in just the right way? Has the Great Commission taken a back seat to our comfort and safety?
Sometimes we have this division between our “Church life” and our “Work” or “School” or “Social” lives. Seriously, do we behave differently from one area of our lives to the next? Do we differentiate and keep these places separated?
When we get to church it can become about not only “entertain me” but this is “My group of friends, My source of strength…not yours”. It’s easy to fall into this train of thought. It happens because we crave acceptance with a group, and we don’t really like change. When new comers come, it upsets the balance of OUR Church.
Were the disciples like this?
Was the early Church a social club? An internally focused community?
Was it one dimensional like that? -NO.
Sure there is safety in Christian fellowship, and in a way that’s good.
BUT, if this fellowship only benefits you and your group and there is not outward looking focus then we are doing “Church” all wrong!
Questions to consider:
Who is your church ministering to?
What are the reasons you go to church?
Why do you worship the way that you do?
Are there aspects of your motivation to worship that are misconstrued, improper, shallow?
How can you break these erroneous molds (when they appear) in your church, in your life?
Note: there’s nothing inherently wrong with any of the three things that I mentioned,rather if they become an idol in our worship and n our religious practices then we have issues to contend with. Be mindful of the true purpose for Church. Be aware of the trappings that surround our practices…and in so doing, perhaps we will regain the proper priorities if they have become lost.
Something more to ponder today.
To God be the glory…far above anything else!
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Thank you for your comments and your questions!
What would happen if instead of “doing church” we allowed the Holy Spirit to “do church” through everyone gathered in the meeting? What if we encouraged everybody present to listen to the Spirit and then to say and/or do whatever the Spirit tells them to? We would begin to experience 1 Corinthians 14:26 — the only verse in the New Testament that I’ve ever found that tells us what to do when the church meets. “When you come together . . .”