Recently, one of my friends said that she was done with those who are “playing church.” I get it. And I understand where she is coming from. And yet, it is more about the culture we have created around “church” that is at the center of this. Let me explain.
For years now, church has become about entertainment. If your building is 100 years old and you still have a volunteer pianist trying their best to play the “old” hymns, you are seen as irrelevant. But if you have a stage with lighting and paid musicians that play today’s latest songs to precision sound mixing, then you are the go-to church. Sadly, we’ve fallen into the consumeristic model of church. This is characterized by: “I want to be fed,” “I need to sing the hymns of my childhood,” “I’m not going if they don’t play the organ,” “I just want to go, be told what to do with my life, and that’s enough for a week,” etc. etc. etc.
The part that I’m struggling with however, is that church people are the ones who created this monster! And the people who are “consuming,” are doing the only thing they know how to do. It is up to US, the leaders in faith communities, to live into a different model.
I wish I knew the exact thing to do, but I only have some wild ideas. Maybe you can add to these as we try to figure out how to make faith more about our daily lives than just a once-a-week-and-done kind of religion.
- Develop relationships – I’m not talking about forming more small groups that bowl together. I’m talking about intentionally listening to another, talking about faith and life, and finding out things you didn’t know about them.
- Ground life together in scripture – While the cannon isn’t the ONLY thing that should be studied, all study and discussion can come from it. After all, if we believe that it is “The Living Word” then there are lessons to be learned even now. I believe that we have much more in common with the humans in ancient times than we realize.
- Do away with the “Sage on the stage” model – We’ve become a people who have forgotten how to think for ourselves when it comes to faith. We go to church often to be told how and what to believe! Jesus usually posed a question with a question or he used metaphor. We could learn a lot from this way of teaching and leading. Let’s have conversation rather than someone speaking at a group.
- Sing songs that are theologically sound and deal with real issues in community – I will just leave this here but frankly, I’m tired of the “Jesus is my boyfriend/I will do so-and-so.” What happened to the community waiting/worshiping/praising/working/etc. together?
- Stop the programatic emphasis – create meaningful, faith building, discipleship forming events for the church and community outside the walls of the building.
- Practice faith outside of the church building together. Again, I’ll just leave this here for you to think about.
I told you I had some wild ideas and I’m sure that maybe others do as well. These are just my thoughts but I’d love to get your creative feedback.
I do not believe that the Church of Jesus Christ will ever die. I do believe that it will change and IS changing. Where will the Holy Spirit move us? Let’s listen to the Spirit now!