There seems to be a relation between a persons “need” (or perceived need) for C/church, and their connectedness/relationship to it. (Or this may all simply be a rant based on being asked “What are we doing in Youth Group?” about 20 times a month by another teen trying to figure out which church is worth their time this week. They’re only asking what the adults around them would love to.)
When I was growing up, we “needed” the church (and Church, in many ways). Difficult life situations, financial challenges, and my single mom raising five kids on her own made being connected to a loving, safe, praying, Jesus-centered community not only helped – but may have actually been connected to how we all survived it overall. Mom knew that whatever may come, we needed to stay connected to the church. Thanks mom. 🙂
We can all probably think of someone we know who has drifted from previously being very involved in a local congregation. Not someone who simply switched local parts of the “body”, but someone who actually has little to no regular involvement in a particular community seeking Christ together. Usually, it seems these are not people who are suffering, or poor, or hungry…etc.
It is quite simply…a need that has faded.
Bills are paid, stomachs are fed, the kids are older, and for the most part, life continues just fine. Still believing in Jesus and all that. Still thankful that hell is not the destination. But doing quite alright at this point.
So for those of us who find ourselves near that location on the map…why get up early Sunday morning? Why commit yet another evening of my week to something I could quite easily not show up for and survive?
How do so many of us who follow Jesus today consider our home church that place we’re active with once a month….ish? Obviously there could be many answers to that question.
But I believe at least one of them is connected to how much the experience of “church”, and even “salvation” (or the other way around) is sometimes very much “me” centered. I believe we need a revival of participating in the Church, and churches…with what the Kingdom, the Church, and the church needs in mind. Along with those who make it up, and need it.
May we move toward our involvement in local bodies asking ourselves “Where can we serve/add to/join Kingdom work here?” instead of “Will this experience fulfill us today, and be worth what we’ve given up for it?”. May we seek God’s presence over an experience, ethnicity, musical style, social class, or comfort level.
It’s hard to write this, without feeling like it will be read as a plea for better church attendance…because I’m a pastor. Being honest, there probably are some of those thoughts in there. But not because I think ill of people who enjoy sleeping in, and not because I want anymore dollars in the plate this Sunday.
But because I think Church and our church is more than what I think. Thankfully. 🙂
It may also be connected to thinking of the Church as a body, with no part being any greater than the others, but every part offering something incredibly important to what Jesus is accomplishing. We are missing several body parts on a regular basis. We are incomplete…sometimes even when that part is sitting in the pew, or standing in the pulpit.
May we each discover what that can mean…