Wednesday, April 1, 2009

An Offshoot - church

church with a lower case c...
That's what i'm talking about today.
It's another one of those difficult subjects that people tend to feel strongly about - & one that Neil & i have both wrestled with over the years. Reading my sister's post on the subject yesterday is what prompted me to think again on this subject. i'm posting my comment in response to her post here.
(you can read her blog here: )

Yes, these are all things that make 'church' hard - and yet... Lately - in the nursery - in conversation - in teeny bits of building relationships, i'm finding that there is a place for me and for our family at our church.
It's true what you said about there being hurting people at the church - but i don't like the idea of leaving them for the pastor alone to minister to. i've found that in order to get past the formal greeting stage of relationship, it becomes necessary to lay your soul bare - Yes... we're different than the cultural norm found in the church building - but if i serve as a finger, pointing to Jesus when so many hurting, lost people come looking for Him - then i am grateful. i think that the church needs people who love Jesus to fill it - because when we are a community - there are mature people, hurting people, thriving people, questioning people, angry people... and i find myself hoping that a lot of the people who sincerely love Jesus (and are counter-culture) don't leave our church because then we'll just continue to follow the cultural norms that have been making church so horribly uncomfortable in the last decade especially. Francis Schaeffer said 'tell me what the world is saying now and i'll tell you what the church will be saying 7 years from now" - my hope is that by standing firm against the current - we can change that. Yes, leaving is one way of saying that what's happening is unacceptable - but staying and choosing to speak out is an alternative. i think that 'talking back' to the tv, newspaper - and yes - even the status quo in the church - like mom & dad did - teaches *good* things to our children. i'm not saying leaving isn't an option - i just really believe that it's not the only acceptable choice for families who want to make an impact and keep Jesus as the first priority.
"Children's ministry" - is such a tough question for us too. Some of the parents in our church opt out & have their children sit with them. i highly doubt you'd be reprimanded if you did - & really - at this stage, almost *anything* is hard with a whole bunch of wiggly little ones. i don't feel confident either that my children are being taught good things. i don't doubt that they're told bible stories & good bible truths, but when all i hear about when we get home is how Charter got called a 'girl' the whole time - or how a girl in grade 5 kept pulling down her own pants - i wonder if the good is worth the price paid.
i believe too - that what we do in the house/family is so much more important - but right now - i still feel like our family is supposed to be in church.
This is one of those issues that i think we benefit from wrestling with - rather than just accepting 'this is what we've always done'. i know that for me - it's not a resolved issue - but something i will continue to work through in my own heart & mind.
Good post, Steevie.


mamazee said...

paige, one thing - about hurting people, and not leaving them for the pastor. i know i've just had a hard time, but it seems churchy people are *trying* to hurt *me*. and i get kinda protective. Like "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me"... know what i mean? and there are plenty of hurting people outside of the church to help, befriend, listen to - without making myself a target. Or maybe i'm just broken for church stuff... helping lead worship tomorrow . breathe.

LSANFO said...

I read your sister's post and your blog response with interest. I attend a very simple church congregation. We try to follow the example of what Christians did in the New Testament...and not add much beyond that. We just sing, pray, take the Lord's supper together, read the Word, and listen to someone give us some encouraging thoughts from the bible. We don't have praise teams or coffee ministries or kids church. We want all of our members to be joined together in our service to God, so no one is sent out to work in child ministries. To be sure, this doesn't make having wiggly children on our benches any easier, but we think it is worth listening to a little kid-movement so that we can all be together. I know God wants us to have a church family that we are intimately connected with...people we can be an encouragement to in our daily lives and people who will know us well enough to be there for us.

For your sister, I think she may have something when she wonders if all the ministries actually detract from her ability to serve God. Our focus should be on loving God and loving others. But, I think loving God and loving others means you have to be connected to a local congregation. That's what God set up through his apostles so that is what must be beneficial for us. That's my thoughts. I'll be praying for your sister. Her desire to serve God and serve her family is obvious.


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