By Jeff Goins, Editor
Lately, I’ve been asking my friends a simple question: “What does church look like to you?” I’ve heard all kinds of different answers and wanted to open up the opportunity to have a discussion here on Wrecked. Do you go to church? What kind? Do you sense anything missing? How do you fellowship, worship, and reach out to your surrounding community? I’m going to share a few stories and then give you the opportunity to do the same. Just comment below.
I thoroughly enjoy reading the comments, questions, and feedback I’ve been receiving. However, just to clarify for those who many be confused, I don’t have anything against the institutional church and really believe in the importance of gathering together as the Body of Christ to worship and experience community. I know a lot of people from many walks of life that do this both uniquely and biblically.
What I’m interested in discussing is how we go from just doing church as usual to living out a genuine, intentional community. I think that this can happen anywhere in any context and instead of telling people to “just go to church,” I’m wondering how free we are to re-imagine this thing called “church.”
I’m also interested in helping people get to a place where they can serve in a fellowship in a way that is fulfilling to them and not just the result of a duty-bound system. I know it’s not just about the individual, but frankly, if you hate church (like many people I know), there’s not much merit in forcing yourself to go with that attitude. I just don’t see “sucking it up” as the ideal form of worship. I believe God wants more from us.
My question is: how? How do we get to a point in which church is what it’s meant to be – both challenging and fulfilling? That’s where I need your help. I want to hear your stories and comments. In this article, I’m including three people’s comments, one from a younger woman, one from a woman a little further along in life, and lastly from a woman in between them both.
It’s interesting that in most churches, women are the majority population, and here we have a sample of females who are still searching to find meaning in church. It’s interesting to see their different viewpoints in light of our own struggles.
This is from Michelle, who just got back from spending a year overseas serving full-time in the mission field:
[I am] still trying to figure out the whole church concept… the idea of it has been jumbled in my head for awhile now. All I know is that it’s NOT in the “program” of it all. Your friend was right: we’ve equated church these days to style and program. It has nothing to do with us anymore… it’s just something we attend. And that’s a big generalization, but it’s something that I’ve run into since coming home that leaves a sad taste in my mouth.
From Linda, the mother of a missionary:
It seems like in the US, that church is more of a social club and our town has several clubs that wouldn’t dream of meeting together. And if a game lands on a church day, well, we can’t miss the game can we.
We need to reverence the Lord, we need to spend quality time in prayer and praise to Him. He should be our ultimate goal. He should be everything to us. We should be digging into His Word and finding out what our Loving Father is all about. I guarantee that if you were in love with a man or woman, you would be finding everything out about them that you could.
These so-called “backward” and “uneducated” people [in the developing world] are putting the American churches to shame in their simplistic, but joyful worship of our Creator. I want to see that happen in our churches, not just “showing up” every once in a while. I also want to see our hearts broken for the lost and dying in all nations. They are not just numbers on the other side of the globe. They are our neighbors, our brothers and sisters, our family. We need to reach them like the [missionaries] are doing.
No more turning away when we hear of genocide in an African nation. No “tsk-tsk” at human trafficking. No shake of the head and a “My, my” at victims of earthquakes, or floods, or any other disaster. WE NEED EACH OTHER!
From an married anonymous friend:
Here’s our current situationwe don’t have a church home anymore. We had a disagreement with the way worship arts ministry was being led in the church we were attending, and in a number of conversations expressed our hesitations over conventional and ritualistic ways of celebrating the holidays, namely Christmas and Easter. This did not sit well with people at our church, and if we did not want to participate in a Christmas program, we were not allowed to be in worship ministries at all.
Now, there are other issues related to us deciding to leave that church, but this was a big part of that decision. So, for the past six months we have been enjoying quiet Sunday mornings at home, listening to worship music and Rob Bell Podcasts.
Could this be church? What about you? What’s your experience? What does biblical church look like? Do you find yourself disappointed and then feeling guilty for your disappointment? Have you re-imagined church in the context of some kind of faith community? Have you thrown it out altogether? What’s the answer, folks, and how do we get there?
If you liked this article, check out: What’s Wrong With Church – Me
Jeff graduated from Illinois College, a small liberal arts school, with a degree in Spanish and Religion. He lives in Nashville, TN. He works for Adventures in Missions, edits this silly little magazine, and loves to do new things. He just got married.