I’m really tired of hearing about “my church”. I’m tired of church events being emphasized more than Jesus is. I’m tired of hearing about what this church believes and what they do there and how they practice at that church. I’m so glad that people are loving the churches that they are attending, but I want to hear about how God is working in your life and how great He is! I do like to hear that churches are prospering and gaining new people, but I want to hear about Jesus more often than I hear about churches. I actually love my church! But I see that God is bigger than my little church.
I think that one of the reasons that I don’t like to hear about individual churches is that there is such a division in the body of Christ (‘the church”) because of it. Obviously, there are lots of denominations in Christianity. You might identify with one specific denomination, which is fine! But we put so much emphasis on this. We talk about what we feel other churches are doing wrong that we forget that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ (as long as the differences in beliefs don’t completely negate what the Bible says). We think we know how certain denominations practice religion, but we’re not even always right (and it often does not even matter!!). I did this just the other day! I have been to Methodist services before and they were very traditional. I assumed that Methodist churches are traditional! But, during a conversation, I discovered that they’re not all that way (I knew it in the back of my head, but I never really thought about it).
Now it seems like it’s not only denominations that are separating us. I feel like individual churches are separating themselves from one another, even within the same denomination. Imagine what the Christian churches in your community could do if they all worked together. What if people from each church got together and discussed issues in your area and how to serve the community? What if all of the church families got together to enjoy fellowship and get to know each other better? What if churches advertised each other’s events? What an impact we could have!
*Disclaimer: I’m not saying to attend all the churches in your area. Although there are likely many Bible teaching churches in your area and you should be accepting of all of them and encourage all of their growth, it is best to choose one church that fits you best and stick with it. I don’t want to see division in the church, but being loyal to one individual church is not going to cause division and it is going to be beneficial for you. You’re going to learn through sermon series, you’re going to be more likely to get involved in ministries and to attend Sunday school, and you’re going to bond with people better. The problem is thinking that the church you attend is better than another one, especially if you know nothing about it or what the person seeking a church needs!
Another reason that I don’t like to hear about individual churches and their events too much is that I feel that we use events as an easy way of connecting someone to a church, then hopefully to Jesus from there, without really doing any work. You kind of put a buffer between you and that person and add extra steps on the path to knowing Christ. Now, I am terrible at one-on-one conversations. I’m just very bad at it. It is a lot easier for me to invite someone to an event at church than to witness to them. There is nothing wrong with inviting! I just fear that we (mainly you people who are good at conversation.. or those who are called by God in the moment!) might be avoiding a conversation that a person really needs to have with a Jesus follower by inviting them instead of talking to them about his personal questions and what is going on in his life. A lot of times, these people do not even attend the event or service that they are invited to and then they don’t hear the gospel at all, which is so sad. Or the event does not answer the person’s questions and he has no interest in attending a service again. Or they are just the kind of person who needs to sit down and talk it through one-on-one! (This whole paragraph is mostly directed toward myself, because I really need to have more conversations about Jesus! I really don’t even invite people to events…)
Please, continue to talk to people about your church and invite them to it. But make sure that you talk about how great our God is before talking up your church, and have a conversation if necessary, before just handing an invite card. Please, choose a home church. But don’t think that it is the only church for people to grow in. Please, encourage people to attend church. But don’t force your own church on them if it’s not their fit. Remember that we all belong to the Church as brothers and sisters in Christ, so love all of your fellow Christ followers without division, and remember that our goal is to reach those that don’t know Him, in whatever way they need!
Featured image from penandpapermama.com.