Sunday, February 12, 2006

There's Nothing Else Like It On Earth

One of my most interesting "church experiences" (and there are many) happened somewhere around 1990. It occurred on a typical Sunday morning when after I left my adult Sunday School class, I went to pick up our then 6-year old son, Seth from his Sunday School class so we could then attend the "11:00am worship service". As we were leaving, I told Seth that we were now headed to "big church"! At that point, in typical Seth style, he proceeded to fall to the floor, lying flat on his back, whining at the top of his lungs making a huge scene and abruptly blurted out (loudly for the entire crowded hallway to hear), "but I don't want to go to big church - I hate big church - it is SO boring!"

At this point, I did what every good Baptist parent would do - I picked him up and took him on to big church. The painful part of this story is that I agreed with him. At that time in my life (and obviously Seth's), big church was boring to me as well.

Fast forward to today. I am out of town, so this morning I visited a church in the area to experience their worship service. I was amazed at how many people come to this church on a Sunday morning (many, many thousands!). I was amazed at how many kids I noticed walking into the building and not one of them was whining - not one of them seemed to be being dragged by their parents. People seemed genuinely excited about coming to this church for whatever reasons.

Bill Hybels says that when the church is functioning properly, there is nothing else like it on earth. I so much agree with that, but for too long I have observed and experienced the church limping along, arguing over stupid things, focusing on insignificant issues, hurting one another, ignoring the "lost", putting on a "good face", saying one thing but being another, and quite honestly failing (often miserably) at who and what we are supposed to be.

I want to have hope - I want to be the "glass-half-full" person when it comes to the church. After all, I am in full-time church work. That puts me on the front line of helping to make the church function at its best. I was encouraged this morning by what I experienced first-hand at the church I visited and also by what I watched on the internet (my church's worship service). I am not saying that these two churches "get it" nor do they have it all together. I know better, but today, well, it was encouraging.....

Maybe 15 years ago (when Seth "did his thing") served notice for me - church does not have to be boring, and I need to do something about that.......I'm still working on it......