Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Playing Church: A Change of Heart

I've said it myself.
I've heard others say it.
It's always said with a tone of frustration or weariness.

It sounds something like this -- I'm just so tired of playing church.
We say it like the environment at church has something to do with our state of being.

Have you ever said that?
Have you ever felt that way?

I understand that any community of people (including a local church) has issues of politics, leadership, finance, etc. Some of that can be frustrating. Some of that can distract us from God and distract us from our relationship with God. I can understand that frustration and have been in that place.

But as I've thought about this, I've decided that it is really just a matter of perspective. When I'm at church on any given Sunday (or Wednesday night), it's fair to ask, "Why am I here?"

If I am there to worship, or there to teach--then doing those things is not playing church. If my walk outside of church is less than it should be, then maybe I am playing church. Or maybe it would be better if I called it playing Christianity. Fixing the issues that surround the frustrations of what the "church" is or isn't doing is not going to solve my frustrations. Only fixing the the issues of what I am or I am not doing will solve my frustrations.

As the church provides for corporate worship, bible teaching, wholesome fellowship and opportunities to minister, we have to bear the responsibility of doing our part. Our part in following Jesus has to continue beyond the church doors. If we aren't taking responsibility for our own Bible study; if we aren't taking responsibility for sharing the Gospel; if we aren't about faithfully following Jesus -- then we are responsible for just playing at our Christianity.

Just playing church?
Yeah, I need to stop that.
Pretending to follow Jesus?
Yeah, I need to stop that, too.

There are people with physical needs -- food, clothing, shelter, jobs. Maybe we can help some of those people. That would be following the teaching of Jesus.
There are many more people with spiritual needs -- prayer, encouragement, salvation. Sharing the Gospel of God's love and salvation, being there to minister to them and meeting their physical and spiritual needs are the callings of the followers of Jesus. Are we going to be followers? Or are we going to go to church so that we can pretend to be followers?

I, alone, am responsible for how I follow/worship/honor God.

John <><

1 comment:

eViL pOp TaRt said...

A good perspective, John! Sometimes the rituals or ceremonies are performed automatically and without thought as to the existential encounter that should be really going on. It's kind of like the dailyness of everyday life somehow distracts us from appreciating just what a gift each day is!