We were driving around our target community when we came across a church and there were some people outside. We stopped to talk with them a few minutes and found they had a mid week Bible study. We decided to visit so we got Eythan and headed over for their night service. We noticed a few things pretty quickly. (This is not in way of judgement just observation).
- All the caucasian women were in long skirts and had an “old-time” appearance to them.
- The pastor did everything from driving the bus, to running sound, to “chastising” the adults from the front for not being in the parking lot to help with the kids.
- The church was in an old grocery store and in the ‘sanctuary’ were old pews and the set up was very 1980’s country church.
But beside all of that what stood out to me most was the preaching. The pastor’s wife preached. (I was kinda surprised by this) She spent the bulk of her time trying to get across the point that we need to pick a team, God or Satan. That God wins and Satan looses and we don’t want to be on a losing team. That if we just come to church we are picking God’s team.
The last couple of days I have been pondering this. Is it really that simple? Is it just about picking a team? If it were really that easy wouldn’t we all pick God. Wouldn’t that be the logical jump? I have been serving Christ consistently since I was 19 but it hasn’t been that simple. There have been times when I wasn’t sure that serving God was something I wanted or could do anymore. I felt like it was costing too much. There were times when He felt so far away and times when I just shut down conversation with Him.
If it was just about attending church I would be the best Christian ever, but I know that isn’t enough. That isn’t the answer. I grew up in an era where the belief was that you just needed to get to church and everything was gonna be alright.
Well, it’s not alright. How many people have we watched walk in and out our doors attending church to make things alright but walk out just as frustrated as when they came in. Over this past month I have visited 9 churches, each very different and what I found, as a visitor, is that people just want you there but they don’t know how to keep you there. They say hello, maybe, and they shake your hand. they tell you from the front to fill out a card and get a free gift but we are missing the human component in all of that. I walked away needing friends and finding not even acquaintances. (the only difference to this was when we attending the Dream Center last Sunday for their morning service, Pastor Paul knows us and he hugged us and even kissed Gus and welcomed us but no one else in the church did anything more than “Hey”)
Listen, I’m not bashing anyone, I’m sure I have been guilty of the same. Right now I’m on the other side of it. Right now I’m a Christian in need of love and support and a human being to be Jesus to me. When I walk in the doors I need someone to really want to know me. I need to see Jesus up close. See there is more to this than just “going” to church. We have to “be” the church even at church service. We rely too much on the words of the pastor to “do magic” in the life of a person in one moment.
The “magic” is you loving, living, and getting messy with people. It is you “being a real, authentic Jesus”. One that I can get a hug from, one that i can hear words of hope from, one that listens, one that just stands near me so that for one moment I’m not alone.
So is it just going to church that causes us to pick a team? No, It us being true to the team we have already picked.