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Thursday, February 5, 2009

XXIII. Why Church Anyway?

This is the result of last month's poll.
  • 100% Church is for worship
  • 100% Church is for learning
  • 66% Church is a place to get re-energized spiritually
  • 25% Church is a place to get saved
  • 25% Church has some other reason as well
  • 8% Church is a place to get financial help

It was good to see that not many said the Church was a place to get financial help. This idea has beaten the Church to a pulp. Need a place to stay? Go to the Church. Need food on your table? Go to the Church. Need bills to be paid? Go to the Church. Need morals to go out into the world? Nah...keep them in the Church. To say that the Church is a financial institution like a bank is to abuse what the Church is. Now that is not to say that the Church is not to go out and help financially. Because the Church is called to do that and it should help financially whenever they can. But the Church should not be a place where people should take advantage of others which is what happens in today's world. The Church should be out in the world helping others anyway before they have to come to the Church for help.

What is the 25% that said it is for other uses? What are those uses? Help if any has an answer.

It is a place to get spiritually energized. This should have been 100%, not just 66%. No one goes to church to get depressed. People go to get uplifted. People go to help others, which can energize you. People go because they are hurting and need someone to help them. Sometimes worship is not on the mind of some when they walk into the doors. Hopefully by the time they leave it will be because they have been re-energized. Worship teams...remember that! You have been given a huge load of burden.

Two things are for sure. Church is a place of worship and learning. The building, although not the Temple itself, is a place where people can come together and worship Christ. It is also a place to learn about Christ and His life, His love and mercy, His desires for us and His commands. It's not the only place but it is one of them. Why was the original "temple" built? It was so man, who although should be a spiritual being, could worship in a physical capacity. It was a place where man could meet with God. God did not need the building, man did. A true church will have so much geared towards these two things that people will be begging for more because it will light the Spirit's fire within them.

Notice the last piece here. Only 25% said it was a place to get saved. Here's a hint: IT'S NOT! The Church was built for believers. The church building was built for believers as well, as a place to go to again to meet WITH God, not to MEET God. Can it happen there? Yes. Sure. Was it made for that reason? No. Sidebar: This is one reason why scripture says that speaking in tongues when done around non-believers should not really be done. They will not understand it. It will be out of their element. It edifies the believer as a believer. Edify means to instruct.

Too many times churches become "seeker" churches. They focus on the non-believer during the service and only them. The church is not for the non-believer. It is no THEE place to get saved. The real saving comes when the Church goes out its doors and spreads the Word. This is not to say that some programs or sermons or lessons or anything of the sort can not be geared towards those of little or no faith, but there definitely needs to be something for those who are there for pure worship and learning deeper stuff.


Lyrica said...

I think you're on to something. Of course, that's my personal opinion. But I could've written the same thing a year ago, when you expressed your desire to go deeper, and your feeling that church just isn't taking you there.

I'm not saying that the lost aren't important, and that outreach doesn't matter. Its just that sometimes, it feels like we've made that a main focus of our churches, at the expense of the spiritual health of the believers already in our congregations. We can't be reaching out, we can't be loving well, unless we ourselves are being nourished by the spirit and the word. I've been to churches where every sunday is a "way to salvation" kind of message. That's awesome... I'm not saying that that kind of message isn't important. But what happens when the vast majority of those in attendance at the services are already walking with God? At what point do we move from the milk to the meat? How do we move from infancy to maturity?

Its true, we can tend to our spiritual health on our own outside of church. But at the same time, I know that when I'm honest with myself, I long for that fellowship with my brothers and sisters who are walking similar roads, wrestling with the big questions, and daily realizing the enormity of God.

My husband and I were in ministry for a handful of years. Many and colorful are the reasons that we stepped out for a time, but one of the big issues staring us in the face was that we had reached a stalling point. We were ministering and ministering, but not being fed ourselves, except for what we could manage on our own. God led us to a church now that has taken us deeper. Much deeper, actually. We're confronted with the challenge to grow every week. What I see now, is that even back when we were making the decision to step out of ministry for a bit, we had no idea what kind of lack we were experiencing in our own hearts.

Here's the thing. Its not even a matter of worship styles, or programming, or any of that. I think that sometimes, we see symptoms of the disease in those things. But really, the heart of the matter is much deeper, and it goes to the core of what we believe about Christ and His body and our purposes here. It goes to the core of purpose. Sometimes, I think we get so caught up in doing, that we forget to just be with one another in fellowship and love. Its my experience that we often miss the mark on love.

When we figure out what love means as we live it out, and as we are love to one another, the rest begins to fall into proper place. Sometimes, we're great at loving those outside our congregations... but we forget to love inside them, because somehow we assume that its bad to look to our own needs. And its so not. When the inside of the body is healthy, what is seen on the outside is healthy and glowing and alive. When there's cancer in the body, we can make appearances on the outside... but its usually clear that something is still not right inside.

Don't abandon your quest for depth and life. You're headed somewhere good, and my sincere hope is that He takes you where you long to be.

No Doubt said...

Edification of the Body of Christ is the proof that we AGAPE each other. I agree with what you are sayign Lyrica. If the Body is not being edified or nourished, then it shows that there's a problem in the LOVE department.

To those who may read this blog and our comments, fellowship is the result of phileo love and is based on emotion. However, edification of the body is the result of agape love and is based on commitment and is not based on emotion. It is a choice to be committed to each other and our growth. Which one do you think reflects Gods love toward us? And which one should we emulate more? If you think about it, you have to agree that there are plenty of times that God don't like us or what we are doing. But I praise God that he never stops being committed to us and our growth.

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