I went to the Pursue woman's conference at church this weekend. The funny thing about it is that there were two major things I took away from it...neither of which had anything to do with what the conference was about. I'm going to share with you all one of those things. Lucky you, you get to read my blabbing.
For several months I've been struggling about going to church. I didn't want to go. I always had some excuse why I couldn't go, Matthias was usually that reason. What it really came down to though was that it just wasn't worth going to. It was such a hassle to get the kids fed and loaded up, drive all the way to Post Falls, get them signed into their classes and then actually get them to their classes. All this just work and then I'd have to go to worship. To be honest, I hated that part. Why? Two reasons; one, I hate singing. Two, I really don't like modern worship songs. They always seem so shallow and repetitive, and often times aren't really even worship. Exhibit A: "Come now is the time to worship". That's not worshiping, that's singing about worshiping. Often times I'd try and linger in the cafe so that I'd miss most of this. Then it was time for the sermon. At some point I started thinking that I was somehow above the sermons. They seemed to be mostly directed toward new believers, therefore there was nothing in there for me. So I'd tune out.
Then at Pursue this weekend, they handed out a paper with the discipleship chart on it. Those of you who go to Real Life probably are familiar with this (I heard there was even a sermon about it this past weekend!). Those of you who aren't familiar with it, it is basically a chart showing the growth of a Christian. I sat there looking at it for a while and started to realize something. Instead of growing and maturing as I though I was, I had begun to slip backwards. I began to see everything through my own selfishness.
Now that I had begun to understand that I'd been looking at church wrong, how am I supposed to look at it? Daniel and I have been talking through all this the last couple of days, and God has started revealing things to me. I've realized church isn't about me. Crazy, I know. So what is it about? Why do we go? Church is first and foremost about God. Church is where He draws people to him. Church is where we connect to other people. It's OK if the sermons are geared toward "infant" Christians. We began looking at how Jesus did His ministry. He spoke to the mob, he spoke to thousands at a time. How did he speak to them? He spoke in stories, he spoke to them on their level, he used things they were familiar with in their daily lives to reveal Himself to them. After, he went even further with his disciples. He used these same basic sermons geared toward "non-Christians" and new believers and revealed the deeper truths of them to his disciples, the "mature Christians". This is how we're supposed to do church. As we mature as Christians, we use the relationships we build, we use our small groups to go deeper. Church isn't designed to be our only food for the week. It's an appetizer. It gets us started. I also began to see that I'd been closing myself off. This selfishness that had begun to take over left no room in my heart for the Holy Spirit to work. How could He whisper Truth to me when I wasn't listening? If God's Word is living and active, we should always be able "get something" out of a sermon that is based on Scripture. When did I decide that I was above hearing God's Word? When did I decide that it didn't apply to me?
So, now I've begun to see that it's ok for church services to be geared toward "infant" Christians and non-believers. That's how God works. Bring the people in, teach them and get them connected. So what about those who are connected and being discipled and maturing? Why do they go to church? They go to minister. Whether it be in an "official" capacity like serving communion or teaching the 3 year olds or an "unofficial" way like praying for those near you during service or starting up a conversation with the person that looks alone and lost in the crowd, there is a way for everyone to minister to the ones God is bringing in. That's the next step.
So, that's about where I am right now. God's transforming my attitude and my thoughts on church. Hopefully by doing this I'll be able to regain some of the ground I've lost through my selfishness and I'll be able to mature the way God intended and maybe even *gasp* start doing some kind of ministry during service!