Monday, August 07, 2006

Is this church?

I think a lot about church. What do most people think of when they think of church? To some it's a place...a place of comfort, a place they grew up in, a place they remember going to sometime in the past, a place they were married in, a historic place to visit on holiday...simply a place. To others, it is something that some people do, but not for them, they couldn't imagine stepping inside unless it was for a friend's wedding, or something like that. As a child I went to a church. Loved Sunday school and have some happy memories of having tea at the minister's house. Later on in life, church became a place we went once in a while, usually at Christmas or Easter perhaps, but not always. It was not something that was immediate to me, it was just a nice thing to do once in a while. I was what some would call "de-churched". I had gone in the past, but no longer went to. It was something I went back to later in university...probably because I had a huge surrounding of Christians in my life, the family I boarded with for 2 years, my 4th year roommate and my 5th year roommate. They all involved me in church somehow, be it telling me about it, or taking me to the occassional service, or university young adults event...any way I think about it, it just became an awareness in my life again. Those that know me now may be surprised to know that I only became an avid church goer about 7 years ago. I got to know Jesus through a program called Alpha. Which is a great program in that it explains Christianity extremely well and is a safe place to share a meal and ask anything about Jesus. I loved it! Back then I was very happy to be going to church because it meant meeting with Jesus and others who loved him every week. I made some very good friends at that church (including my husband). It suited me very well because there were several people there in my age group who did more than just attend a Sunday service. We did improv drop-ins, photo rallys, went to the beach, hung out in coffee houses, went dancing... basically we were people in our 20s who did what most people in their 20s do, but we also had God. To me those people and the time we spent together was church...more than a building. As time has gone on, we've all gotten married and moved to different parts of the country and I'm looking (longing) to find church like that again. It's true, I go to a church. I'm learning a lot from our minister in terms of church leadership and bible teaching. And that part has been great. I would love; however, to seek God in a different way. To just meet with people, to worship together, to pray together (and for each other) and to read and discuss scripture together. This is a place I could call home. Not the buisiness of church, but really being the church.
I often wonder too about friends of mine that I had before I became a Christian, how would they fare in what we call church? Most of them would never set foot in the door. It it not a comfortable place. It is a culture all on its own. How can we make meeting with God a reality for them? It's definately possible, but we (I) have to go to where they are at and love them. Chuch can't be the mold we've made it into. It is too foreign, not something that is part of their childhood, like it was mine. There are no fond memories there for them. I know of some wonderful ministries that happen in parts of the world that are not church as we would traditionally define it, but are definately churches in the sense of people meeting together to meet with God in the culture that is relevant to them. Churches that are skateparks where the skaters worship God by skating. Churches that meet in pubs and coffee houses. I would love to see more of this. Everyone has the opportunity to know and love Jesus, but we the church as traditionally defined have got to stop standing in their way and trying to force those of another culture into ours. Even I, who have great childhood memories of church and am quite comfortable in a church building, have a longing for something a little bit different, a little less defined. Something that relates more to who I am, building on my life before I set foot back in the church building. I want church to be real. To have more of Jesus. He met and ate with people where they were. Would he be found in our buildings today? Or, would He be elsewhere? In the pubs, in the danceclubs, in the skateparks, in Starbucks... When we look at it that way, how can we be anywhere else?


Post a Comment

<< Home