Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Why go to church? part 1

A couple came home from church, and as they were eating lunch, the wife goes to her husband, "Did you see that awful dress Catherine had on today?" He replied that he hadn't noticed. "Did you notice how much that Jones kid was squirming around during the sermon?" Again he hadn't noticed. "Did you see how close that young Smith couple were sitting? They were all over each other!" Her husband yet again replied with a "no." His wife looked irritated. "Why do you even go to church if you don't notice anything going on?!"

  That is a bit extreme, but I have been thinking about this lately. Why do we go to church? Many churches have become not much more than entertainment centers. You can find churches that have bookstores, coffee shops, snack shops, even tattoo parlors. Is that why we go to church? To browse a bookstore, grab a cup of coffee, get a tattoo? Pews have been replaced with chairs that can be removed and the worship centers look more like a gym and the platform more like a stage.

  There are churches that have big screens scattered throughout, and you can watch the service while you have a sandwich and some soup, or sit in an easy chair and chat with a friend. 

  Song leaders have been replaced with worship leaders and praise bands. Hymnals with screens on the wall with the newest worship choruses, whether they have any "meat" in them or not.

Maybe I am too old fashioned, but I find the idea of snack shops, bookstores,and coffee shops in the church a bit much. And tattoo parlors... there are no words. Though I only know of one church that has that.

 I still like hymnals and prefer hymns over most praise choruses. I like a pew, though I prefer it to be padded. 

  There is a church that tries to appeal more to men by having their worship area set up like a camp. There are camp type benches or chairs, a minnow bucket for the offering, and the walls are decorated with stuffed heads of various animals.

  I've known of people who spend their lives skipping from church to church. They try to find one with the perfect pastor, one that has all of the programs they like and want to be involved in, one that is friendly, one that has the right size of congregation, one that has the right kind of music..... and they just keep searching.

  Most people will never find the right church. There are a few factors:
1) The perfect church does not exist

2) They are searching for the wrong things in a church

3) They are the problem and will never be satisfied.

  And people quit churches for the wrong reasons:

1) They don't get used enough. That one always gets me. Most people who say that want jobs where people can see them and they can pull their righteous robes around them and say "look at me!" If it is just a matter of being used, all they need to do is ask the pastor what they can do to help around the church. He will find something, but it may not be where they can be seen of men.

2) The church isn't friendly. Even my church has cliques. I have had people say our church is very friendly, and I have had people say it is not. So who is correct?

My church has 3 sections of seating in our worship sanctuary. People who regularly attend there tend to sit in the same seat or area. Maybe the people saying the church isn't friendly needs to move around a bit. And it isn't up to first time visitors to reach out to people, but if you have been attending a church for a while and still think it is unfriendly, try being friendly and reach out to people.

3) The church is too big. Of the church is too small. Well, if it is too small, your leaving will make it worse. Try getting more people to come. Too big? If that is your only reason to leave, it just isn't a good one.

4) The style of music isn't your thing.

My church uses a piano and organ. In the evening service, we actually have an orchestra. I think the only reason it doesn't play in the mornings also is because they have a hard enough time getting people to play in the evening. People play flutes, violins, clarinets, guitars, and occasionally a trumpet will show up. The music is very low key and is an accompaniment for the singing. And we sing hymns with an occasional worship chorus thrown in.

I have been in churches and services where the music was so loud that I could hardly hear  myself think. The louder the music got, the more people got worked up. And I have wondered... if you took away the music, would the people still be as excited? Would they still feel something? And is the something they feel with that kind of music God, or just emotion and the beat?

We have a great song leader at my church, but he does one thing I don't care for. He often has us sing a chorus or the last verse of a song acapella. He feels it is more worshipful. I disagree 100%, but I dislike acapella. But yet, I don't consider loud crash-bangy music worshipful at all, and when I am in that, I can't wait til the time of singing is done so I can think again and my headache will go away.

  Maybe it all comes down to personal taste, but if the church is a good church and you are getting spiritually fed there, I would be careful to change churches just because of the music and worship style. That isn't why we are in church, just to sing.

  (This post is getting too long, so I am continuing it in another post)

No comments:

Post a Comment