I was in Church the other day and I was so bored. I should have known to run out when I heard the first song - we sing it EVERY week and it drives me crazy! Do you ever have those moments when you are sure that this is not planet earth, but rather that you've been cast into infernal hell?! It was one of those moments. I know... I should have cut and run - got as far away from that place as possible - but I couldn't... I work for the Church.
Anyway, we've gone through chorus hell and are ready to sit down, when this three year old kid verbalises very vocally (he shouts with no shame!) "I WANNA GET OUT OF HERE!!!" I could've laughed as on the inside I imagined myself screaming back at him, "SO DO I!!"
But Church shouldn't be like that - I should never be bored with meeting with God. And that makes me want to question two things:
1. My attitude
2. The Churche's relevance
First, my attitude. I need to ask myself frequently, "is my attitude to Church a right attitude?"
Do we go to Church to give God praise, or to 'have a great time'? I think it should be both, but we need to be going to Church expecting to give God praise - after all, we worship for his benefit, not ours!
Tied in with this question is the idea of expecting to hear from God when we go to Church. When I go to Church am I asking God to speak to me (even through the familiar!)?
Then there's the second question I have - the Church's relevance. I'm convinced that Church should be, and can be, relevant to us all. I'm sure of this because worshipping God is a relevant discipline for every believer. Also because the truths of God shown in scripture are intentionally relevant to every human being.
I think the Church in Britian generally speaking needs a quick kick in the butt to become more relevant (especially to teens!). We're so busy trying to maintain the status quo that we're missing the fact that that the world is a fast-paced and changing place (not to mention the fact that every moment we waste millions slip into a lost eternity!). I don't think we should be adpoting every idea from 'the world' but we could use the creativity God has given us to reflect our worship back to him!
Let's start with a basic characteristic - JOY - let our Churches be joy-filled places where we are encouraged to reach out more to God and to others. Or another attribute - BE LOVING - show acceptance and welcome strangers as old friends. The early Church father Tertullian was struck by the Churches' love - If God is love let him fill every member to flood-point so that our Chuches are bursting with love, concern and compassion for all people. Love God and love your neighbour - if we are truly Christians we would do this. It's not that God can't or won't do it - rather that we don't let him in! WE ONLY DO WHAT WE TRULY BELIEVE. What would observers think we believe from our services?
I love the Church. I desire to see us being all that God wants us to be - full of his fruit that is the evidence of his being in our hearts faith commnuities and our hearts.
So, my attitude - go and be the difference as God does his work of changing my heart (cos that's part of his church!). In seeing the Church's faults I'm really seeing my faults so perhaps it's me that needs the spiritual kick in the butt. Think I'll go read 1 John now.