Over the past couple weeks I’ve been pondering some things about God, about church, about Christianity, and our roles in the body of Christ. Is the way we do church, the way God intended church?
I’ve been in a few churches in my day, and they all have their own style. Some are very contemporary, some are more traditional. There’s even cowboy churches. I’ve seen churches who have bluegrass services. Some churches have choirs. Some churches have bands. Some churches hoot and holler, while others are quiet. I suppose most of the world would consider the quiet churches to be reverent. But is that really reverence? Are the churches who think you have to hoot and holler, and dance all over the place right? Are they the ones who are truly reverent? Who can answer those questions and honestly say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you’re right? Personally, for me, that much worship, all the dancing and hollering, is a distraction. That being said, who designated those thinks to be worship? Couldn’t people who are sitting quietly, and not even raising their hands, be worshiping? I think so! Besides, worship is a lifestyle. Worship is NOT just dancing, singing, or shouting. Ok, my point is, when it comes to doing church, there’s something for everyone. If you can’t find a church that fits your style, then there’s probably something wrong with you! But let me ask y’all something. The question that keeps coming to my mind is, what is God’s style?! I mean, how did God intend for us to do church?
I remember when I was a kid, often times someone would stand up and say that the Lord had laid a song on their heart, and the service would pause for them to sing. And boy, would they sing up a storm! Often times, it would sound horrible! But oh what a blessing it would be to everyone listening! How is that possible, that something sounding so awful could be such a blessing? I’ll tell you why! Because the person who was standing in front of everyone, doing something that was clearly out of their comfort zone, was doing what God had asked them to do! Do you think, for one minute, that would/could happen in today’s churches? I mean, not without church security, or the creative worship team escorting them out, and the pastor profusely apologizing for such outlandish behavior.
I say that [partly] in jest, because the only way someone would be able to randomly sing, (who isn’t on the praise team) would be if they just stood up and started singing in the middle of the service. After all, there’s a certain style, a certain standard that has to be met in today’s church. And we have to keep everything on track so the next service can start on time! Heaven forbid a decrepit, old person be allowed to sing a song the Lord laid on their heart! Assuming there are old and decrepit people in today’s modern churches. Be all things to all people. I believe Paul said something like that? But are today’s churches actually being all things to all people? Again I ask you, what is God’s style? When Jesus was doing his ministry did He worry about how people sang, or if he was meeting the style of the locals? I don’t think so!
A study conducted by the Barna Group discovered that nearly 60 percent of all Christians in the 15 to 29 year old age bracket are no longer actively involved in any church. So, exactly, to whom are we (the church) catering? Why do most churches feel the need to be so hip, and grow to outrageous numbers? And calm down, I’m not talking about growing the Kingdom of God! We are all called to so that! And you can ridicule me if you want but, what I see from the outside of mega churches, is that it has become more of a social thing. You can go, virtually unnoticed, and are still able to say “yeah I go to God’s Big Church Of Tenbucktwo.” Or, if you are growing, as a Christian, it’s because you’re in a small group! Maybe that’s what we should be doing! Maybe there should be more smaller churches?! Hear my heart here. I’m a part of a growing church that I love! It’s a very contemporary church, who does about as much in the community as a church can do! But at the end of the day, I’m not sure we’re doing things right either. When church becomes more about style than the people inside…it makes me check myself.
I ask my good friend, who happens to be very educated and wise to help me write this blog. We’ve had many conversations about many different things but, talking about the church never interested me that much, just to be honest. Lately though, God has been speaking to me like crazy! And He keeps telling me to listen to Him, and Him alone! He keeps telling me that His will doesn’t need the walls of a church to be accomplished. In fact, He’s been telling me that (for me) wanting the title of ministry leader was nothing more than pride. He reminds me that the ministry opportunities He gives me are only to accomplish the purpose He wishes to accomplish! Our jobs as Christians are to bring people to Christ! However that looks! And even when we aren’t getting recognition at church for doing so!
Here’s what my friend, Gerrel, had to say. “It is amazing to me that I was “in church” for so many years, before I realized what church is. Hosea 4:6 reports that God’s people are destroyed because of ignorance. Note that the root word for ignorance is “ignore”. There were so many parts of the Bible that I ignored because of the traditional programming, in the fellowships that I was accustomed to.
Think: “Jesus is the perfect example of the way to truthfully live your life”. This changes everything. Jesus never invited anyone to repeat after him, for a free ride to Heaven. Neither did the apostles. They mentored people. THATS HUGE!!! What we call discipleship is vastly different from his definition.
Funny how we think we can improve on perfection.
Luke chapter 4:18 tells us what the Spirit of the Lord is for. Good news to the poor; healing broken hearts; deliverance of captives; restoring sight to the blind, and to tell others that Jesus is coming back. That entails a lot more than preaching and filling pews. IJS”
In closing I’ll say this. Be a part of a local church! Find the church that fits your style! There’s something for everyone! If your church has more than 100 people, join a small group! But for the love of all that is good and holy…never let anything stop you from doing what God has called you to do! Not the style of your church, not whether or not you think you’re gifted in that area….nothing! If God has laid a song on your heart to sing, and you can’t sing it at your church?! Sing it somewhere! Shoot! If God has called you to hopscotch across town, and your church won’t back you?! Go ahead and hopscotch til your feet hurt! Just don’t wear a shirt bearing your churches name! I doubt God would ask you to do that, but you never know!
The best advice I could ever give a Christian is to not get caught up in all the church rhetoric. Serve at your church, YES! But don’t get caught up in comparing yourselves to others, and thinking that having a title makes you more important. What matters to God is that we are obedient! Do what God tells you, even if it isn’t in style! Live your life according to God’s style!
But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. Acts 5:29
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 1 Peter 1:14
Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here. John 14:31