Ask not what your church can do for you

by Kyle
published July 7, 2012


Read More Looking Up


I can’t say enough bad things about going to church, and please don’t think you detect sarcasm here. The idea of sticking a bunch of self-avowed sinners and hypocrites into an organization together, each one trying to suck whatever meaning they can out of sitting on uncomfortable pews for an hour a week early on Sunday morning, is really beyond me.

Sometimes the music is bad. Really bad.

Sometimes parents don’t realize that the time has come to excuse themselves once their progeny has begun screaming.

Sometimes I don’t get anything out of it.

I’m betting your experience, at least at times, is not altogether different from mine.

It could be that all of those experiences are not supposed to be what church is at all. It could be that God intended His church to be something wholly positive. It is the church that’s supposed to be shining light and tasty salt for the earth. So what’s wrong with the way we do it?

Let’s look up to the example of Scripture.

Pastor and author Francis Chan said it best when he said that when he examined Scripture, he found nowhere in the Bible the model that now exists in America where it is possible to walk into a service, listen to some music, hear a message and walk out without ever loving — or even knowing — someone else in the pews around you or allowing them know and love you.

What I see when I look at the early church in the first few chapters of Acts goes WAY beyond services, WAY beyond music and WAY beyond “getting something out of it.”

What I see is a group of people that loved each other like family because their master said they were, who gave sacrificially because someone they loved had a legitimate need, who knew each other by name and who spent real time with each other — not just Sunday morning lip service. Their life and their family WAS church.

Hebrews 10:25 reminds us not to forsake “assembling together,” and we’re really good about that. Lots of people go to church every Sunday, but the verse goes further. In the very same verse, the writer of Hebrews instructs us to use that time to encourage and build up one another and is oddly silent about what you should expect to get out of it.

Our lives — and our Sunday mornings — are given to us to live for one another. Jesus said, “whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25). Your purpose in life, both in and out of church, is not to get what you can out of it but to put all that you can into it.

The funny thing is that when you do that, you will get all that you need. You will find your life. This is not just some sort of bland existence, but a real, abundant life — the life you thought you could “get out” of church in the first place.

Despite the inevitable frustrations that will arise from working with the fallen people that we all are, I have found in my church a group of people whom I love dearly and who love me and my family because I committed to them and they committed to me. All because, by the grace of God, I learned that the only satisfaction and growth available in a church is by emptying myself into that church. I have gained so much more than I could ever have asked from a church.

I wouldn’t trade the result and blessing of that effort for anything in the world. For all the bad things to be said about church, my cup runs over with deeply personal ways my church family has blessed me beyond measure.

If you want to grow in your walk with Christ, there is no better way than to do that with a group of people who are walking in the same direction as you.

That group is what we call a church.

What do you think?

Posted by Dona on
WOW!!! Well said!
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