Here’s the church, and here’s the steeple, open the door and see all the people.
I remember saying this rhyme as a little girl. That has characterized the Church for me as a child, a building with people. At least that’s what I believed it meant–something nice and simple.
Looking at the nursery rhyme and comparing it to the Church today, it makes me wonder, is that what people actually think of the Church? Is it a building with a bunch of people who use big words and have crazy doctrines? The people are boring, the worship service is blah. The sermon is condemning and you leave church feeling the same way you came, now condemned and a little confused. Why do I even bother going in the first place? Is this why people stay away from church?
I believe the church has a responsibility to be a shining light for the world to see, reaching out to those people who are lost (Philippians 2:15). The church should be the first source for those that need the love of God in their lives. But what is the driving force behind most young people’s attitude against the traditional church? Is it fear? Do they believe in God less now a days? Are they looking for answers instead of just pomp and circumstance?
It’s all too much when all God wants is just you.
I have talked to friends who don’t think they need to go to church to be a “Christian”. Many have been hurt by Pastors; they feel that they don’t know how to preach to their situations and problems or having to dealing with pre-marital sex, dating, drugs and peer pressure. Or they’re concerned with pastor’s begging for money, believing every time they come to church they’ll be badgered to open their wallets and give them something that folds not jiggles. Although this maybe true for some churches–meaning that it’s not the church for you–every church is different.
The one thing that is abundantly obvious to me is that church should be a place of worship. It should be a place that every one will experience the presence of God whether they realize it or not. It should be a place where you feel welcome. It should be a place where you feel at home. It should be a place where the refreshing Word of God is taught–not what the preacher saw happening in the hallway or some manmade doctrine, prohibiting makeup or pants. It should be a place where God is always present. It doesn’t matter what you wear. God wants your heart. Now if all of these things embody your church than you have a great church, if this is not the case, especially teaching the Word of God, then run, and run fast.
What does the Bible say about going to church? Is this a must for “Christians” to attend a local church? I believe that it is essential as a believer to fellowship with others in a setting that allows you to grow in Christ (Hebrews 10:24-25) to be in an environment that is suitable for your personal growth. People are not perfect and neither is the Church. I think people forget that as children of God. We too have problems and situations that frustrate us, disappoint and even sadden us. The church needs to reestablish itself as place to build people up and not tear them down, there needs to be a new paradigm within the Church. Many churches have realized this, but many have not as well. They continue playing church and only reaching those that are in arms length, sitting in their pews.
Times have changed and the Church has to change right along with it, based wholly on God’s word.
I remember having this conversation while in college, concerning the problems with churches. At that point in my life I was burned out from going to church. I had been going my whole life, whether I liked it or not. I never had a choice. I learned about God, I learned His word, but I never learned to love this place called church. I learned that it was very ritualistic and some people believed in order to go to heaven you needed to go to church. Or in order to be a good “Christian” you had to be there every time the doors opened.
Now as a mother, I am overcome with the responsibility of teaching my children the value of being a “child of God” and not someone who goes to church every week. I want them to have a personal relationship with God that transcends the ideal of church and its doctrine and all that it entails. I want them to see the imperfection as well as the Godly attributes that people have. I want them to learn to study and read God’s word for themselves and not to wait for Sunday morning to hear the word.
For me, the Church is a place of fellowship, experiencing corporate worship in unity with other believers (Psalm 133:1). I don’t know about you, but I feel going to church is an important part of my walk and I don’t ever want to miss hearing a fresh new word, but I don’t feel guilty if I don’t make it every Sunday morning or Wednesday night, because the idea of church is not about the building, it’s the body of Christ as a whole, expanding His kingdom.