Why church?

A short time ago I asked my friends on Facebook "If you go to church, WHY do you go?".  Most people got it right.  You see church isn't about getting your spiritual time card stamped.  At least it shouldn't be about that.  It's about worshipping God and fellowshipping with other believers.

I call words like 'church', 'worship' & 'fellowship' Christianese because sometimes it seems like Christians speak a different language than the rest of the world.

Worship, when you break it down, means you are recognizing God's worth.  For Christians this can be done many ways: studying the Bible, prayer, singing songs of praise, acts of love or obedience.  It should be part of our everyday lives but especially important when we gather together.

Fellowship is simply what happens when a community of Christians gather together.  It's social interaction and the building of relationships.

A Church is not a building. A Church is a group of Christians who gather together for worship & fellowship.

Recently I've been reading this book called 'Crazy Love' by Francis Chan.  It's a great book that really tears away all the other junk we try to add on top of the Bible and reminds us that it is really about this crazy kind of love.

It has really got me to thinking about Sunday mornings.  The more I think about it the less I see Sunday mornings reflecting the reasons why we are SUPPOSED to gather as a church.

Here is a break-down of how your average Sunday morning goes:
- Get your seat
- Announcements
- Prayer and singing hymns/worship songs
- Bible reading
- Sermon
- More singing of hymns/worship songs
- Some sort of coffee/tea social time

I just find way too much focus is put on the sermon.  Preaching is good and it serves a purpose.  But most Sunday mornings are structured to make it seem like the main purpose of being there.

To be truthful, preaching is a very ineffective way of teaching.  It's usually 1-way communication with the preacher talking at/to people.  What about all those people who don't learn just by listening?  Many people need to write things down or read it to REALLY grasp it.  The biggest problem is that the people in the pews/chairs all have different levels of knowledge.  I call it the shotgun method.  Because you just spray a wide shot of knowledge and hope that some of it took effect.

Besides, this isn't the example we see set by Jesus or the Apostles of the early church.

Jesus taught in parables so as to conceal the message from those who don't REALLY believe.
Today preachers make their sermons simple so that it's easy for everyone to understand.

The Apostles would share the salvation offered by Jesus in a public place.
Today we share the same message to people who come to us on Sunday morning.

The early church gathered together daily to eat and live life together.
Today we meet 1 or 2 times a week and complain that it takes up too much of our time.

The early church was known for how they showed love.
Today we are know being judgemental hypocrites.

I think it's time to change.


Debbie said...

excellent post! its true in most cases.

Dave said...

Totally agree, especially about the preaching part. A good sermon should be a short thought or meditation - maybe several. My church when I was a kid had a 30 minute sermon, and thats if the guy quit on time (which was rare) - way to much, and I got little out of it.

The worst is the long sermons where I can see all the points being made in the first 5 minutes, but 10, 15 , 25 minutes go by before the guy shuts up. blah.

Church is about worship and fellowship - wanna teach me something? Thats what Sunday School is for.