Thursday, August 14, 2008

Why Do We Go To The Chruch We Do?

This is a huge question. Why do we go to the church we do? Are we receiving anything at our church & if so what are we receiving? Why are we at church? Why? We had another huge blow at our church last night. It's bad enough we lost our Bishop & the rumors swirling around that one are really bad. Most of them made up. It's also bad enough the local papers have had to do a story on our pastoral loss to put so many of those rumors to rest. It's also bad that there is a big battle through the Internet & local papers with another local church pretty much demanding that we should get out of our church building because they are now bigger than we are & they need the building more than we do. Are you kidding me? I need a bigger house than I have so does that mean I can go down to the millionaire down the street & tell him to get out because I have more kids than he does so I deserve the space more than him. Oh we are some crazy Christians, we sure do give the unsaved a whole lot of reasons to stay away from us. They're out there having a good time & we're in the church fighting, judging, snickering at those not as well dressed, etc. Who wants to come into a place like that? I don't mean my church is like that but many churches are like that & most have people like that in them. Why don't we put up a sign at the front of our churches that says anyone seeking love, friendship & acceptance please do not enter, RUN. So our pastor of our men's drug & alcohol rehab center let our pastor know he is removing that from the church. Apparently when they created this ministry they created a board & because of the legal workings this pastor is free to remove that ministry from our church. So our Bishop has been gone for about 2 months now & we don't know why but last night this huge (and I mean huge) ministry & part of our church let us know they would be leaving & not be returning. They are no longer part of our church. They will be doing their own preaching on campus. This is horrible & I don't see how it can be from God because pastor doesn't give a real reason for doing it & he won't even be back Sunday so people can say their goodbyes. It was a huge shocker. These men & ministers in this part of our ministry are over 200 people. It will also be a financial crunch. But God provides so he can bring in money if he thinks our church needs it, which it does. This really got me thinking... why do they want to leave our church? Why do they want to start their own church? Then I get home from church & my husband informs me that he wants me to leave my church & try a church that some of our/his friends are going to. It is a Baptist Church which makes me cringe. I grew up Baptist & I left that for a non denominational church for a reason. But if it will get him to get into church then I must go & try it. If he likes it there then I will have to leave my church & pull my children out also to attend this one. So again I began to think why is it that he doesn't like my/the kid's church? What does he need there that he does not receive? What is he looking for? So I asked him. He said he doesn't know why he doesn't like it except that he doesn't know anyone & he wants to go someplace where he has friends. Which is funny because that is what our new pastor is really hammering on. That people leave churches because of a lack of friends, he says that's what people want, fellowship. He has been working hard to make our already friendly church more loving & friendly. Too late for hubby though. He won't go back. So he knows several people that he really really likes that go there. What can I do? I love my modern contemporary worship music, if they are singing old time gospel out of a hymnal I might just die!! Okay so I exaggerate but come on people, it's 2008, why are people still singing old old songs that are slow & boring, to me at least, okay to a ton of people. I love my choir. Argh. The minute I step into a place with hymnals I know I am going to be bored. So there are different churches for a reason, we are all different. All of our needs are different, we all have seasons, we must have churches that meet the different needs & seasons of our lives. So hymnals have their place but oh, I like to sing upbeat modern worship songs with a full band. A keyboard, not an organ. Which still raises the question, why do we go to the church we do? What do we receive at our church? Let me say what I receive at my church.... I receive several hugs before I ever get to the sanctuary. I receive several more once in the sanctuary. I receive smiles. I receive people who will ask about my life and actually care what I say. I receive people who are dead honest about who they are, what they have been & where they are going. I receive people who need me & people who can also be there for me for any stupid or important need I have. I receive joy from our praise & worship. I receive a lot of wonderful learning on how important it is to have a personal one on one relationship with God. I receive that I must have quiet prayer time with God every day as much as I can. I receive how vital it is to Love God, to Love Jesus, to receive the Holy Spirit & listen. I receive great teachings that inspire me. But most importantly I receive every single week from the pulpit the importance of prayer & having a personal one on one relationship with God & how important it is to live out or beliefs when we leave the church. That is the most important. I grew up in the Baptist church, went to a private baptist church school even & no one ever spoke to me once about having a personal one on one relationship with God. Never heard about it. I was taught to be afraid of God. Not to fear him because of the fact that he will discipline me if I go wrong but to just be afraid of what he will do to me if I don't obey or do wrong. Which probably explains why I have lead such a goody goody life. I was taught that women have to be submissive to their husbands. Yada yada. Never was it ever mentioned the part where men are told to love their wives like Christ loves his church, no that was not mentioned. I didn't know the Bible even said that until at 32 years I decided to read the Bible for myself. Women were always treated not so well and lesser, you know what I mean, the men come first, yada yada. I don't' want to endure those teachings again & I don't want my children learning them. There are two huge gigantic churches in my area, both Baptist. One is known for it's youth ministry & does have a lot of wonderful programs. But on July 4th, the youth pastor was telling a friend of my daughters that she was going to Hell because of something I can't even remember but this girl is saved. It was something stupid & he is out there scaring her to death. They are all about numbers, everything to them is about numbers. Does God want us worrying about numbers? Why do pastors do that? They just worry about getting numbers in. Save 'em & move 'em out. We got numbers. The other church I tried to attend when I moved here. It is gi-normous. Major huge. I have never seen such a thing & I don't mean the building. All people want to know is that you're perfect, you dress perfect & drive the perfect expensive car & are married to the most perfect executive. I know a man who is a very nice & teaches Sunday school there. He says the first questions from everyone there are always what subdivision do you live in, what do you do, what do you drive. Come on people. I asked him why he continued there & he said because it was good for his career. Yep. This magna church has a lot of executives in it, including the company I used to work for. We all knew if we wanted to get promoted to go to that church & make sure that we were SEEN. A few alter calls, attend the right Bible study & a promotion would not be far away. It worked too, that's why so many people in my company went there. So what were they receiving? Promtions? Did they receive anything there? I went one Sunday & sat with some ladies I knew from work & all they did was make fun of other ladies clothes & hair. I couldn't stay there. I had to leave. What did those people receive at that church? Is all my husband going for is to have fellowship? What is he looking for? So I am still thinking why do we go to the church we do? A funny thing... one time a friend brought up this subject & just for my own stupid fun I knew she went to the mega church so I described my time there & didn't name the place. She was so funny, she said I should never go back to a place filled with so many shallow people. I just laughed to myself. If she gets something there then why should I say something bad about it. But I know so many mean people who go to church. Are they not receiving anything that they can still be mean. I know a few cops who say the worst & mean drivers are the ones leaving church on Sunday afternoon. What does that say about us? If we are behaving so badly what are we receiving & most importantly do we even WANT to receive anything. Are we just there to get a fire insurance policy, be seen, dress up & go to lunch afterwards? Is that what church is? Dress up, sing, sit until 12:00, go to lunch. Wasn't church great? How many people never feel God while at church? Now it's not all the church's responsibility for the state of our worship & behavior. We have our responsibilities. But I know I was NEVER taught to love God. I just went to church every Sunday because that's what you did. God was always somebody I could pray too but he was otherwise far off. You had to be good to go to church & if you weren't people whispered about you & what you had done in the past. They didn't want you in their church either if you had been toooo bad. Jesus would so approve. I didn't like that in all Churches I went to they didn't like black people coming either. They would stare if a black person came. Please, Jesus wasn't a white Anglo Saxon so get over it. If Jesus walked in would we tell him to go to the minority church down the street? Cleaned up whites only please. I grew up way down south if you can't tell. I am still in the South, I don't want my children learning racism. So why do we pick our churches? I pick a church that doesn't have women all gussied up, because it's ridiculous. If we are there to minister to "unsaved souls & the lost" how comfortable are they going to be if they are surrounded by people all glammed up? If they have never been to church before & for whatever reason decided or felt a pulling on their heart from the Holy Spirit & they came to church what would they see & be met with? A lot of people can't afford to dress nice, a lot of people that need Jesus can't afford nice pretty dresses & shoes. So we should meet them halfway. My church I attend I love because they encourage you to dress modestly but in the way your feel like dressing. Sunday mornings are a mix of ladies wearing pants, jeans, carpi's, skirts & dresses. Some are in flip flops, some in sandals & some in heels. Not many people are very dressed up. We want everyone to feel comfortable in our church & we want to be comfortable too. We are very relaxed in my church, that is another thing I look for. We don't pretend anything, we are very very relaxed. I like a casual church on fire for God & on fire for the souls of the lost, & the healing of the hurting & broken. That is what I look for. I look for real people because I am real & I don't like pretense. It's just one more sin I don't need in my life, I have enough to deal with. It's not easy trying to be like God, like Jesus, it's a tall order I'll never fill, I'm not supposed to, that's why I need Jesus. So I like to be free to say I'm not perfect. That's what I look for. That's why I go to the church I go to.

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