My wife and I have for years ‘gone to church’ Sunday after Sunday. We sat in a pre-planned service, being entertained, listening to one person tell us what God was saying, and looking at the back of the head of the person sitting quietly in front of us.
Each week we sat there, not having the opportunity to say what was on our minds, no chance to talk and get to know our brothers and sisters sitting all around us. We were told we were having good fellowship and teaching, learning more about God each week.
Truthfully, we were getting so tired of this religious social club environment. We were not getting anything out of this experience, and we certainly were not putting anything into it…..other than our money when the offering basket went past. We have become tired of the religious enterprise with its pre-planned services, the CEO and board of directors, along with the gimmicks and programs designed to ‘bring the people in’, especially when we were told to go out into the world. We were feeling a lot like what our friend Kenn Bruner said in one of his postings… people “who are tired of a predictable and ‘business as usual’ mundane and mediocre existence as a Christian; those tired of sitting in a church pew Sunday after Sunday in their “comfortable and safe” place, bored to tears”.
What we are finding is that true community is believers living their daily lives with one another by caring, loving, assisting, encouraging, and building one another up. This is what is known as the true Church. It is fellow believers living daily for Christ, not a once a week trip to a building and sitting there for an hour. As Ken Eastburn said in one of his postings… “Organic house churches are different than Bible studies or small groups as to fellowship and caring for one another. Meeting together once a week to study and discuss the bible is fine, but an authentic family of God is different. It goes deeper. Coming prepared to meet the needs of others, even when it is inconvenient, demonstrates the love of Christ”.
We are followers of Christ, going about our normal daily business, living with Christ as our head….not a pastor. We live as one with Christ, letting his life and love touch others each and every day. We assemble with our brothers and sisters in Christ any day, anywhere. Sunday is not the Lord’s day, every day is the day the Lord has made. God’s house is not a building where we gather with people who believe similar to the way we believe. God’s house is us, His people, those of us who have accepted His grace. We are called to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves, not just those who believe like we do.
It has been good for my wife and me to stop being part of the Sunday morning crowd at the building of our choosing. It has us looking to God more, listening for His voice and allowing the Spirit to teach us rather than one man. It has us loving and accepting people as they are, not just those who believe like us. The Church is meant to be a community, living, loving and caring for one another each and every day. Although we have not yet found what we are looking for, we are trusting God to lead us and bring us into a community of believers he has for us. As Dan Notti said in one of his postings… “Believe God for it. Authentic community is God’s intention for believers. He has made the provision for it through the work of his Son and the power of the Holy Spirit, and He has the patience and love to stand with us as we experiment with living into it. Can we believe him for that”?