Friday, April 18, 2008

What makes a church?

So through this process of leaving a church after 10 years and checking into other churches I have really grown. I've changed my definition of who I am and what defines me. I have realized that a church cannot be responsible for my faith. I've realized that a church should have a greater purpose than giving people something to do one or two days a week. I think, as a culture, we have become twisted what God intended for the church. The way I see it, the bible calls the church to care for widows and orphans. There is the great commission - go and make followers of nations, but that, I feel, is being called to believers and not a corporate organization.

So I am noticing things about some churches, and I have a hard time understanding what motivates these actions. As I am sorting through our mail today, I find a letter from a church we visited (we had already decided that it wasn't the place for us). They are in the beginning stages of a capital campaign - raising money to improve their existing property and to purchase neighboring properties. The mail we received was a glossy envelope that had been customized with the logo that has been created specifically for this campaign. The letter inside was also on customized letterhead. It went on to talk about an event to promote this campaign including a breakfast and tee-shirts.... this also happens to be the church that gave us stainless travel coffee mugs and $5 Starbucks card as first time visitors...

It saddens me because we enjoyed this church. We found the people to be very friendly, the teaching was biblically focused, the kids liked their classes and came home telling us what they'd learned. I also see that they really believe that this current effort will somehow lead them to a place where they can reach more people with a bigger or more attractive building. But what would people be getting out of a big pretty building? Jesus is not experienced in studs and dry wall.

How did the Christian church get so off base? Why are we spending money to build buildings that the lost will likely not step into just because it's there? And why are we not focusing more on service and more on caring for widows and orphans. If there are hurting and needy people in our own community, that should be our top priority. There is always hurting and needy people we can care for. I wonder how much it cost to send that letter...

1 comment:

  1. Wow.
    You are getting the picture of why my husband led us away from 'church'.

    I encourage you to continue to seek Jesus for what is right and best for you and your family. You ARE the church.

    If you'd like some answers to the question of "How did the Christian church get so off base?", I can loan you a great book called Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola. We have found it to be pretty enlightening about the history of many things in the church.

    I'm currently reading another of Viola's books called, Knowing Christ Together. Covers how essential fellowship is to really knowing Christ in the fullness of His body, and what that fellowship looks like. He echoes some points you made in this very post.


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