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Should church be easy?

July 20, 2009

I realize this may be a little antagonistic, and six months ago I may have vehemently held an altogether different line. But it’s on my mind this morning, so muse with me.

Should “church” be easy?

I mean small-c church. The local gathering of saints from a particular geographic area on a regular or semi-regular basis. Should it be approachable? Accessible?

Certainly as people, individually or en masse, we should be approachable and accessible. Jesus was. Let’s strike Christian lingo from our vocabularies and humble ourselves as “servant(s) of all.” Definitely.

But at the same time it seems like we go to great lengths to make the buildings in which we gather look like buildings in which non-Christians gather so they’re comfortable if they happen to get lost on a Sunday morning. We compare the business (for lack of a better term) of church to the business of the Starbucks down the street, and try to learn all we can from their mastering (at least formerly) of community.

It seems like we go to great lengths to make our worship gatherings (or services or experiences) … easy. Not just simple – I’m down for the Simple Revolution that’s going around via Apple and Simple Church – but easy. It’s not the same thing, and it seems like we try really hard to make it easy.

Don’t use any words or terms the average 21-century non-Christian wouldn’t know. Don’t sing songs that might make anyone uncomfortable. Don’t talk about money. Don’t push people to get involved or step out in any way.

Should church be easy? Should someone who has never been in a local church building during a regularly scheduled worship service be able to walk in on a random weekend and feel totally comfortable, totally at home, totally in-the-know?

Or should that part of church happen in our homes and neighborhoods and classrooms and workplaces, and maybe weekend worship services are a little abnormal?

The Church (and the church) in Acts was a little abnormal. They went out into their communities and were normal people ministering the truth of the gospel, but when they got together … weird things happened. Acts 5:13 says “none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly.”

I’m just wondering if maybe there shouldn’t be a little culture shock when you step into a place where most people are in love with a God they cannot as yet see, and are striving to draw near to Him. Where people are excited to get together with other believers and worship in Spirit and truth, learn from the word of God, and band together to see His kingdom come.

Maybe there should be some lyrics that the new believer has to ask a friend about. Maybe it’s okay if there are a couple words in the sermon he raises an eyebrow at. Maybe the visitors should get the opportunity to watch people happily contributing of their hard-earned income in the midst of an unstable economy because they believe in something bigger than themselves.

Maybe church should be different from Starbucks and the rest of the world. Maybe it should be evident that something else is going on here. Maybe Sunday mornings should communicate the grace of God and the cross.

What do you think? I’m curious. This has been bumping around in my head for a couple days, but not really meditated on. Should our weekend meetings be as accessible to the new-comer as possible? Should we focus our attention on assimilation first? Or should church be a little strange? What do you think?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2009 7:39 am

    Good thinking. Worth consideration. My take is God has created us in Christ Jesus to be to the praise of His glory. The simple fact that He has made us new creatures and adopted us as His sons and daughters is to His glory, just our little baby is to our glory. We expect our little baby to grow up and eventually walk worthy of our family. God wants us to grow up and walk worthy of Him. If we don’t, we don’t really know God.

    “We are sure that we know Christ if we obey his commandments. The person who says, ‘I know him,’ but doesn’t obey his commandments is a liar. The truth isn’t in that person. But whoever obeys what Christ says is the kind of person in whom God’s love is perfected. That’s how we know we are in Christ. Those who say that they live in him must live the same way he lived”’ (1 John 2:3-6).

    If we believe in Jesus as our Savior, He calls us to serve Him as our Lord and King. Is it too much for Him to ask us to become His disciples?

    • Lex permalink
      July 21, 2009 10:18 am

      Thanks for the thoughts, Bill. “Is it too much for Him to ask us to become His disciples?” :) Don’t think so.

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