Is turning up ever enough?
For one hour on a Sunday we are asked to attend church, it may be more than an hour it would very rarely be less.
Is church the place where we tick the box?
How many boxes? Is that our praise done for the week? Is that the worship done for the week? Is that the prayers done? The reading of the bible?
At one o’clock on a Sunday are we done with all that for the week?
Where is the accountability? Where is the discipleship? Where is the mission?
At the same time we tick the box, people who do not think of themselves as Christian are feeding the homeless, healing, listening to people, meeting people at their point of pain.
We need to get off the pews and into the street. Do I mean literally? Yes, I actually do. We need to shine like bright stars in this dark gloomy world and as a response to receiving salvation do good.
Historically that would have meant knitting a hat or baking a cake. But what does it mean today?
In this post-modern society where a hat is likely left on a park bench, what does it mean to take church with us when we leave the building?
More and more Christians all over the world are leaving church not because they have been offended but because the box ticking isn’t enough.
So how do we balance the tension of being amongst box tickers and not being box tickers.
Is it possible to move from one view to the other. There is a pastor’s wife in the States who is very disheartened by the box ticking congregation. She writes:
“Our church is full of people who say they love the Lord but are content with their weekly attendance of filling a pew. My husband who loves Jesus so much is preaching the word of God with all His heart, trying to propel the people out of their pews and into the community to minister and win them to Jesus. We both believe in and love the church. We feel to gather together in the church is God’s command. But rather than being a local club that meets together and is so inward focused, it is to be a place where we come together to get encouraged by fellow believers, challenged by God’s word and receive strength from knowing we are all in this together. Then we are to use all this to go out into the streets, the workplace, our homes and wherever God leads and share His word, do His ministry, teach His way of doing things and then invite others to be apart of the family of God. But instead, sadly we feel this is not is what is happening. People are so consumed with the world and what it has to offer that the church to them is just a place of old times, a place to have your name on a roll, they want no accountability. They want just enough Jesus to get to heaven. Some attend regularly but do very little. Some attend on special occasions. So many have no real commitment to Christ or the church. And so we are discouraged, we are searching for encouragement and direction from God has to what to do next…I feel most do know what it means to be a Christian or a committed church member.”
Each of us should be spending time daily reading God’s word, spending time in prayer – talking and listening with God, be open to the leading of the Spirit, daily seek Jesus, meet the needs of people within the church community and meet the needs of people in the general community. Let the church grow organically, and glorify God in every thing we do, say and think.
If we can only imagine what the disciples felt, then we are not disciples. If we can only imagine what it would be like to invite a homeless guy to dinner then we haven’t done it. If we can only imagine being with someone dying or someone drying out or someone in the depths of pain then we haven’t been there. It is time to stop imagining and it is time to be there…