I'm not sure. And I'm certainly not any real authority to how this is all supposed to be and look like. But I do think I have caught a glimpse.
I remember when I first came into the faith I was so excited as I read the Bible. It electrified me in a way I cannot explain in words. I literally felt on fire as I read through the pages for the first real time in my life. I wrote down Scriptures and put them on my wall with a feeling of deep passion and reverence. I read through Acts in awe at people who could live with such faith that it often took their very lives.
And then I went to church.
It didn't take me very long to figure out that the pages I read at home didn't really seem to match up with what I saw on Sunday mornings. Everything seemed so official. So... pretend. I remember feeling like when we left the building, God left too. We sang about God, talked about God, and prayed to God at church. But where was He in our homes I wondered?
It seemed like God was a very interesting relative we went to visit once a week. We had a good time and everything, but He had no lasting effect on the way we lived, spoke, and treated people. Where was this fire I felt from the Scriptures? It was drowned in church.
I know I must sound very harsh and critical, but I love the Church. Because the Church is people. It's made of people like me who love Jesus like all get out, but we are not contained by buildings. When I criticize the "church" I don't mean the people who are the Church, but the form it has become.
In many places the church (little 'c') has become a one hour a week thing. Many churches have people paid full time salaries who are dedicated to Sunday morning alone. It is "show time". There are preachers, pastors, worship ministers, youth ministers, family ministers, pulpit ministers, orchestra ministers, secretaries and so on. I'm not saying hiring ministers is a bad thing. I am one. However, in many places we have hired professional Christians.
I cannot even express how much that hurts me to think about. We have people hired to evangelize, teach, serve, love, be Jesus. But the Church is Jesus. We can't hire people to be Jesus for us.
Sometimes I like to read ads of churches looking for ministers. Many want him to teach every Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, do all the personal Bible studies, visit all the sick and widows, plan the evangelism, and more. I've read many of them, looking over the loads of responsibilities they want and think, "Could Jesus Himself do all that?" We pay professionals to be Jesus for us, and that is wrong.
But we're all supposed to be trying to follow Jesus. There's no "upper management" in the body of Jesus. We're all important. I want to do full-time ministry, but not because I wouldn't do it otherwise. I passionately want to know Jesus and be like Him, and I have a strong desire to spend as much time as I can in ministry. But if I still worked at Subway, I'd still be just as valuable as any paid clergy in the Church.
Oh, how I wish we saw ourselves this way. I want to do mission work in a foreign country, but I'm a missionary every day. When we go to school, work, or wherever else we are sent to be missionaries to whomever we come across.
Well, I don't want write a whole chapter on a blog so I think I'll continue this line of thought into however many entries it will take.
2 weeks ago