Monday, June 23, 2008

Church

So, if your a frequent reader of my blog, you will have a general knowledge of my feelings towards church. A newbie? Let me get you caught up: I like church about as much as I like the dentist. God and I are cool, I even have grown to love and respect a few Christians in my life, but overall traditional church doesn't seem to fit me too well. I am too outspoken, too liberal, and too...disillusioned.

About a year ago, we started to go to a church called Adullam. My sis and bro in law go there and I liked the web site. It seemed organic, just a bunch of people who love Jesus who get together on Sundays. I liked that they started as small communities and then did the whole church thing instead of the other way around. It seemed like they were active and loved the community.

Now, here we are. I am back to square one. I would say it is because my expectations are unrealistic, but I am not really sure what my expectations are. Matt and I are extroverts, were happy to lend a hand and chat with those we met, but we are still on the outside of a little clique. This church feels like every other church I have been in, down to the Sunday lay out. Sure, it is casual, the pastor is less conservative, but the people are the same. People will talk to us on Sunday, smile and act like they care, but despite our questions, we have yet to find a group to belong to. I offered up some ideas of how to impact our community and never heard back from anyone. It doesn't really seem like anyone DOES anything. It is really just pretty web content and the makings of a book for our pastor.

I guess I struggle with what the point of church really is. Growth? Well, that is kind of personal, and while a good message can prompt some thought, growing is a personal choice. I like worship as a community, but do I have to be in a church to do that? I believe several people moving in the same direction can be world changing, but I can't seem to get anyone interested in moving. Church feels to me like a time when us Christians get together and nod to the content of a sermon, pat each other on the back with platitudes like "I will pray for you" and "God bless". We like big, air conditioned buildings, upbeat music, a place surrounded with people who are like us. I haven't figured out how to change the world alone, between nap times and diaper changes, but my heart longs to be a part of something bigger than myself. I am the square peg.

This is not a bash on traditional church and those who find them fulfilling. It is simply my lament that I can't seem to find a place to fit. I hate to church shop, I don't just want to be another consumer.

I have an amazing group of Christian girls in my life, we don't get together every Sunday, but could they be my "church"? If all church is is the body of Christ, believers who gather together, who love eachother and love the Lord, what am I missing?

4 comments:

NLWilliams said...

Wow, Gretchen.
My husband is on a pastoral staff now, so I should be careful of what I write, right? :)
But really, I completely feel what you have written here.
Church is not what it used to be. When Christ started the church, it was an effective, moving, growing, organism of believers and not a business-like organization of pretty worker bees toeing some party line.
I pray that you find what you are looking for, but I also pray that you become what you are looking for too...God is doubtless working on you through all of this. Dissatisfaction with things of this world can often bring great satisfaction in our Ultimate God!

Honeycutt Family said...

As always, I love that you say what you think, girl. And I agree with your post.
I really like Naomi's thoughts too.
I hope you and Matt find what God wants for you. I believe that doing life with a group of believers is essential to our walks. Matt and I have been looking for that ourselves for almost a year now. Still trying to figure it all out ourselves...
Let's talk more soon.
Love ya,
Jen

Denise said...

Well, I always like to go to what God says so here are a few verses about what God says about church. There's always been the gathering of God's people from the O.T. on. It was God commanded. I'll just stick to N.T.

Acts 2:41-45 I'm not going to copy the whole thing but there are principles/steps to follow for a church in these verses. Side note-the main point in verse 45 is that they were sharing with other believers who might have a need. The body was taking care of the body.

Hebrews 10:23-25 We are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. The assembling is for stimulating one another to love and good deeds and for encouraging one another.

Ephesians 4:12 tells us why we are given pastor/teachers...for the equipping of the saints. Church is not for the unbeliever; it is for the believer but the believer then goes out equipped to reach the world with the gospel of Christ. IMHO, this is where we are failing miserably.

Have many churches turned into social clubs? Good possibility. We go to church to get equipped to do the work of service and this builds up the body of Christ spiritually and physically. I fear that we are bordering on being Laodician; neither hot nor cold. It bet this is all as clear as mud. It's hard for me to put my thoughts into writing.

Oh, God, bring me out of my personal lukewarmness to serve You with zeal and boldness.

Orrange said...

oh you sound so much like my husband.