Monday

Doing Church - Are We Pleasing God or Men?

I should be doing something else right now, but my procrastination (and consequently this post) may give you something to think about...
My husband and I attended a youth service last night and felt totally disconnected. Was it our age? Maybe, but there were quite a few other oldies who seemed to be enjoying themselves. Was it the loud, lively music to songs we didn't know? Maybe, but no one else seemed to be singing them either with confidence and gusto. Was it the lyrics? Well, they did seem rather focused on self and the little word "I". What about the prayers? I don't think so. Prayers are good, although these ones seemed a little repetitive, and I noticed that people were yawning and fidgeting. Then it must have been the message? Maybe, it was supposed to instill awe at God's awesomeness, but somehow it didn't seem to succeed. I am tempted to ask...

Where can I find churches who have great hearts instead of big budgets; those who render service instead of requesting money; who experience God's presence instead of record-breaking attendances? And where are those who are shining examples in our lives instead of seeking a great hype? Where are the churches whose members do things quiety instead of talking loudly? And those who show off beautiful lives instead of beautiful clothes? Where are the preachers who love the truth rather than watering it down to be more politically correct, seeker sensitive or culturally relevant? God surely knows His faithful servants - and indeed I know some of them myself - but I would dearly love to see more in our churches!

Please don't misunderstand me. I am not judging others or looking down on them. I am simply frustrated with all the apathy around me on the one hand, and the false hype on the other. I am so yearning for Christians to be real and truly spiritual in their understanding and actions, and for them to be really interested in and caring for one another. Is that too much to ask? How can we draw others to Christ if they can't see Christ in us?

4 comments:

burningisles said...

Thanks for sharing on worship. All the hype is not the fault of the world or our young people, for if it were we could pass the buck. We have allowed our theological college faculties & church leaders to teach that to win the world we must act like it (they call it being contemporary). Meanwhile the world carries on laughing at us and rightly so.

God works in us without our programs.

Trevor

Margaret said...

You are so right, Trevor!

I actually had a bit of a bad conscience after posting this piece as I thought it may reflect badly on our young people. I didn't want to give that impression, because I know that they want to do the right thing. But unfortunately we are and act according to what we have been taught. Here it is again, the age-old principle. And yes, I do hold much of what is taught at our colleges responsible. My husband and I became Christians 25 years ago, and even then things weren't what they ought to be (we were devouring the Bible and expected the church to reflect it, but of course we were hugely disappointed).

When my husband once asked a pastor why this was so, his answer was that church leaders had "dropped the bag 20 years ago." hat's 40 years back from now! Yet it wasn't until I did historical research for my doctoral thesis (on baptism) that I realised just how much well-meaning Christians are influenced by the surrounding worldly culture and philosophy of their time, and how quickly things can change. It was sadly fascinating. By the way, I am holding your comment responsible for my next post :-)

Thanks again,
Margaret

rosie said...

Thank you for these words.
I am feeling lost at the moment with the Church.
Very disillusioned and can't help but wonder where is the 'love' Christ has asked us to give to all?
The church I attend is so busy doing all the meetings etc that they forget the people.

Margaret Lepke said...

I feel for you, Rosie!
Unfortunately this is a common cry among the Lord's people nowadays, and you are not alone.
If you would like to talk with someone who understands these issues and be encouraged in your particular situation, feel free to contact my husband via his new website, which he started for people just like you. The link is www.netpastorhenry.org
With Christian love,
Margaret