I have spent years watching people invest a lot of time and energy into church programs. Great programs do not happen naturally, they do take a lot of work. How many hours does it take to prepare a sermon? How many hours to prepare a Sunday school lesson with some fun activities or crafts? How many hours and how many people does it take to run a successful VBS program? How much energy is put into sound and video? How many hours of practice and preparation does a great sounding worship band require? How much work is put into youth programs? The volunteer list can go on and on.
I know real relationships can be built during church programs, and I know people can be introduced to God and grow in their faith. I am not concluding that all this time and energy is futile. I know people who have been introduced to God during VBS and youth group programs. I know programs work sometimes. However when we look closely at the times when God has worked through programs we can usually see relationships have been present as well.
Please bear with me for awhile as I try something different.
I am wondering what would happen if Christians refocused all that time and energy they put into programs and invested that same time and energy into relationships.
Taken to the extreme... what would happen if Christians stopped doing church, closed the doors for awhile, and went into the world to live as the church?
What if we put our energy into doing the 'one anothers' that we see taught and demonstrated in the New Testament: Loving one another, serving one another, encouraging one another, being kind and compassionate to one another, offering hospitality to one another, submitting to one another, having humility towards one another, living in harmony with one another, not slandering one another, teaching one another, admonishing (giving advice) one another, agreeing with one another, forgiving one another, singing to one another, bearing with one another, accepting one another. I think this will keep me busy enough.
What if we focused on caring for people like Jesus did? Caring for the broken, the sick, the poor. Everyone has some needs. I'm not talking about contributing to a charity or some organization that helps people. What I see in the New Testament is people caring for people, living as a people of grace and mercy. Are there people with needs in our lives? I suspect that would be a good place to start.
What's the point of all this? It will require time and energy too. I believe the point of caring for people who don't know Christ as Lord is to introduce them to Christ's love for them. I believe the point of caring for other believers is to build them up to become more like Christ, so others will see Christ living in them as well.
My family is still connected with a group of believers with a more
traditional approach. I am OK with people doing the traditional church
programs. I love and respect them all. But I have changed, and this has been my prayer and focus for a year or so now. I can not say I have arrived yet, the journey has just begun. I am excited about what God is doing in many lives around me, and I want to continue to prioritize relationships. This is the reason I have taken a break from serving church programs. I hope you can understand.
Disclaimer: About This Blog
THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.