The Great Church Race

Christians all over the world are concerned about the amount of people leaving their buildings and in response to this they condemn, compete to keep their attention, and manipulate to keep them involved.
{Something's wrong with this picture.}

I'm not suggesting the mass exodus of people from the churches is a problem, it's the tactics that are a problem.

The mega church building or even the tiniest of country churches are traditional places to gather, but not mandatory for worship, discipleship, and fellowship.

Did you get that?  

{They can gather wherever they want.}

The hymnals many churches go into debt to purchase are not mandatory for worship. Singing from hymnals is a tradition, not a biblical mandate. We sing from what is within our hearts and we can sing through various uplifting music that praises God.

music by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere

There's no need for pews or pew chairs. You can use couches, LazyBoy chairs, and futons if you'd like. Sit on whatever you have, whatever is comfortable, even if it's the picnic bench or a blanket on the grass at the park.

Do you know where the homeless believers gather? Maybe it's surprising to some that they don't feel comfortable in churches in their musty wrinkled clothes. Some of them know their presence would make church people uncomfortable, so out of respect... they refrain from going. They don't have a building to gather in or money to give, but they gather under bridges and share the leftover food given to them the night before as they stood on the street corner outside the restaurant. That food is their communion among one another and Christ.

A pastor that completes four years of seminary, who holds a stamp of approval from his denomination doesn't necessarily mean God has qualified him. Several of the disciples who later became apostles didn't go to seminary. They lived life watching Jesus interact with people, He was their teacher, and because of the timing of His death, they only had three and a half years of training. Maybe I missed it somewhere, but did Jesus remember to give them a graduation service and a certificate before they could 'pastor' a church?

Well, by now you probably think I have desecrated the traditional church, but in fact I am getting around to something different. Something out-of-the-box unusual. Something that is so spontaneous and out of the ordinary that most church folk completely miss it.

disneyland by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere

There are so many books being written by tradition in-the-box preachers of mega churches that has me deeply concerned. They seem to be in a rat race of sorts. The Great Church Race. There's an electric buzz of excitement about how to make church better, how to get to the next level of service, how to engage people into the church life, and how we all need to be doing something bigger and better. What's the hurry? Why such insistence on doing it their way? And why when someone disagrees with their way and chooses not to follow suit, are people being condemned, rebuked, and belittled?

So here we have this Great Church Race to 'do something great' in the world.

Pardon me a moment as I ask a simple question.

What was the one thing Jesus wanted us to do in this world?

{Love others}

lovecruise by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere

It seems to me that is simple enough and while a church thinks it's doing something great by attracting people into their buildings and providing entertainment, activities, classes, etc to keep them interested...without love... it's all clanging cymbals.

So does Love insist that it's church has more to offer?
Does Love use entertainment to attract people to itself?
Does Love demand submission to a man with a four year seminary certificate?
Does Love need to be loud and perform great feats to get your attention?

Love is patient (no need for a race)
Love is kind (no need to abruptly attract people)
Does not boast (no bragging of what it has to offer)
Does not insist on it's own way (it yields to others)

In this life in Christ are these things a 'must have'?
building
hymnals
pews

For there abides these three
faith
hope
love

And yet the greatest of those three is Love.

  • Love cannot be taught with a cookie cutter model.
  • Love cannot be forced as if by intravenous medicine made by man.
  • Love does not race to get your attention.

  • Love comes naturally.
  • Love flows naturally.
  • Love yields naturally.

If we are so worked up about the Great Church Race, then are we really resting in Christ?
Are we truly yielding in Him?
His yoke is light and easy.
Life in Him will not leave you worked up, exhausted, anxiety ridden to perform, or condemned if you don't join the race.

Disneyland can be an exciting place to gather and enjoy with our fellow believers. It's all so exciting! But it sure takes a lot of work and a lot of money to keep it going and as soon as the rides break down, the people feel empty and unsatisfied. Much like a come down from a sugar rush..some tend to crash.
crash by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere

But for those who capture the spirit of Disneyland, all the rides can be permanently shut down and they will still be fully satisfied, because what they grasped was in the heart. To be like a child again. When everything is a wonderland of exploration to them. Those little things we enjoy in child like faith. And to live knowing we are deeply loved and special people because the Creator made us that way.

So when those who insist on being entertained become disgruntled and leave, those who rest in our Lord and take in His heart in the everyday little glimpses of His Majesty, will be the ones who can walk away from the amusement park and walk into the world with something to share with others.

weeeee by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere

And it's found as we live life each and everyday, in the out-of-the-box way, among one another, in the simplest ways, in the real world, in a better Kingdom, in the Upsidedown Kingdom.

What is this?

{The Spirit of our Living God}

Where is this Kingdom found?

{The Kingdom is found within you}
Scriptures to ponder:
Luke 17:21
1 Peter 2:5
1 Corinthians 13
2 Corinthians 3
John 13:35



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{ Timothy } at: October 28, 2010 at 2:33 PM said...

Great blog!!! Excellent 1st Corinthians 13 message!!! Very True!!! : )

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