Tuesday, January 10, 2012

the ME church.

If you haven't seen this one minute video on YouTube, it's definitely worth a look. You can see it by clicking the image above. Another version can be found here.

ME church. Where it's all about YOU. This video was made as a comical way of discouraging the idea of "shopping for churches." However, there are many aspects of this video that speak to the meaning of church. What is the purpose of church? Why do we go to church?

Church is not about any one person in particular. I think most Christians are aware of this. Numerous passages in Scripture speak about the various anatomical parts that make up a church and how each part is equally important to the health and functional ability of the church as a whole. Here's one for example:

Romans 12:3-8
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Even though we aware of this supposed unity within the body, many churches struggle today because of this Me Only or Me First attitude that has become so prominent. As a result, many people don't see the harm in skipping church or the youth group that they regularly attend.

ME: "I don't feel like attending Bible Study tonight. I won't be able to learn so it will be my loss. Right?"

There are several aspects of this statement that reflect a narcissistic mindset. What happens if no one feels like attending Bible Study? If Bible Study was meant for people to attend just to learn, then why do we regularly sit around a table? Why don't we have Bible Study in the sanctuary with the leader standing behind the pulpit? A successful Bible Study hinges on the contributions of the participants and not just the leader. How can you contribute if you're not present? Now it's no longer just your loss, but every person in the group loses your potential to contribute. Even the most random questions or remarks can spark a meaningful discussion. You never know. Is fellowship about you only?

ME: "I can never seem to wake up on time for church. I always end up missing the singing portion, but at least I'm there for the sermon."

It appears that the importance of punctuality is dwindling at an alarming rate. However, being late isn't my biggest concern. Tardiness happens. Sometimes it's inevitable. Most (if not all) of us have been late before so we are certainly in no position to judge the person who walks in 30 minutes late. Consistent lateness, however, in my mind, is inexcusable. Is it because we don't take church seriously? Do we take God seriously? Or is it simply because Sunday mornings are for ME and not for God? What does Sunday morning mean to you? If your presence during worship was not required, then why do we bother to worship as a group? We could all sing to God on our own time - at our own convenience. If a sermon was all that you came to church for, then why not stay at home and watch one online? Church is NOT for you to just come and receive. Rather than asking yourself what you got out of church today, why not ask yourself what you gave at church today? Chris Siliard puts it well in his sermon on servanthood: God has divine opportunities for you every time you come to church...Opportunities to encourage, greet, care for, pray for, or serve somebody.

Is Sunday about you only?

The author of Hebrews begs to differ.

Hebrews 10:25
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

The importance of church and fellowship was well-documented by the author of Hebrews. Living the life of a devout Christian is becoming more and more difficult. And as our daily walks with God become more and more challenging, fellowship, edification, and accountability are necessities to keep us grounded in our faith. This takes active participation by all members of the body.