Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Church Groups ≠ Prioritizing and Communing with God

I recently heard someone in two different occasions lift up "church" too highly. And in this context, church was referring to the Sunday service.

The first time, he said that many people do not prioritize God because they do other things rather than "going to church" on Sundays (I'm putting that in quotations because I have theological issues with that statement--church is the people, not a building or service). I think that can very much be true. However, it is not a 1:1 correlation. There have been significant times in my life (recently even) where "going to church" was actually detrimental to my relationship with God. In fact, most of the time, I do not experiences God during Sunday "services." I experience and commune with God more during small group meetings, prayer, talks with my wife, reading the Bible, listening to music individually, being in nature, etc. I firmly believe I can prioritize God and never go to a Sunday gathering.

Does that mean I shouldn't? No, I think we should be in a community. However, many church services are not at all about community. This relates to the second comment. This individual said that God yearns for the people who are not "in church" each Sunday, using the analogy of a mom who does not get all of her kids home at the same time for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

It's a moving image, but I think it's an inaccurate analogy. Church services (I hate the term service, too--we are not called to provide religious goods and services, but to serve) are not about a group of Christians communing together and with God by and large. Some truly have a strong community component. But frankly, most are an experience of passive observation by attendees.

I don't see anywhere in the Bible God yearning for more people to come together to be passive observers.

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