I don’t want to be normal. I don’t want to minister to those who are normal. I don’t want to be a part of a robotic community that comes to church, expecting to be “fed” for the week and then leave, only to return 7 days later to get re-fueled.
This past Sunday, as I was holding a 6 year old in my lap for the entire service, my thoughts wandered. With part of my mind listening to the sermon and another part trying to help Heath copy a Bible verse, I began to wonder:
- Why do we go to church?
- What’s the benefit to us being there each week?
- Should we go to church to GET something or to GIVE something?
- Should we leave different than when we arrived?
- Why do we do what we do every week?
I’ve blogged before about church, ministry, success…….
But, again, I go back to:
If Jesus was a…pastor in today’s church, He would probably be fired because He spent three years discipling twelve people, one of which fell away from the faith. Jesus was truly the talk of the town…..but He wanted no recognition. He knew that the twelve (really, the eleven) would one day be the foundation of a force that swept the world….
“Jesus was different. Wherever He went, He looked for people who needed His ministry. Just think of Nicodemus, the woman at the well, the lepers, the children, and His disciples. Jesus didn’t ask them to minister to Him, bless Him, build Him up, encourage Him, or pray for Him. He had come to minister to others, even if others never ministered to Him…..” Gisele Yohannan, Consider Your Call.
You need to go into church with a JFK attitude….”It’s not what your church can do for you, but what you can do for your church.”
It’s true that many of us attend church out of tradition or a sense of obligation. However, anything worth practicing — and anything valued enough to perform repetitively — is worth understanding. Which leads me to a question that may seem unnecessary on the surface but that is packed with meaning for the living of our faith: Why do we attend church?
For many, the question is unnecessary — the Bible commands we go to church, so we do it. Hebrews 10:25 tells us, “….not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” –which means we should often join together and give ourselves the opportunity to join with other Christian men and women. Some Christians agree with that (that “church” is necessary for your own Christian walk) and some do not. But, I think we can agree that many people attend church because it is a part of their family upbringing or because of what the church represents to our society and our communities.
We attend church because our parents attended or because our families have been members of a particular church for years. It represents a place where we all come together in fellowship and worship. One could survey any given church and interview countless members and they would probably say the positive experiences gained at church outweighs the necessity of knowing sitting in a pew doesn’t make you a Christian, just as sitting in a garage doesn’t make you a car!!
I think we should attend church, not because it’s an obligation or a “requirement” for our faith, but because….
- it is an act of obedience to God and it honors the Lord’s Day. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy (Ex. 20:8)
- we should belong to a community of faith that includes our brothers and sisters in Christ who are trying to live out the gospel just like we are (Acts 2:42-47)
- we will benefit from being taught and led in worship by others, rather than always depending on ourselves to read and study the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16)
- we all need regular reminders of our standing in Christ, help in acknowledging and confessing our sins, and teaching about God’s truth (James 5:16)
- we should desire to turn to the Word when facing the issues of life and faith (1 Peter 1:7)
- we learn and grow by sharing stories from our past with others (allowing them to see a different perspective) (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
- we love to share personal experiences with others (1 Corinthians 7:17)
- God loves us, plain and simple (John 3:16)
- the world tells us otherwise (Luke 12:34)
- believers need help to reflect on the past week and see it as a small part of the journey of life (Philippians 3:12-14)
- we need a conscious break from work, family problems, and self interests in order to concentrate on the Lord (Psalm 37:7)
Going to church is not what we GET out of church but what we can do to GIVE to others while at church…..
Did I miss Sunday School last Sunday because I was working on a Mission Trip slideshow that was not loading? Yes.
Did I miss sitting by my husband during church because there wasn’t room next to me (b/c I had 3 kids sitting next to me and one kid sitting ON ME)? Yes.
But, I can tell you the benefits of making that slideshow and having those kids sit next to me (or ON me) clearly outweighs the “It’s all about me” attitude that I could’ve had….
Be a “doer” and not just a “looker”…
Seek, ask, and find what the Lord has called you to do…
Be about the Father’s business…
God has not given the purpose of “I’ll-just-put-one-little-pinkie-toe-into-the-ministry” to anyone…
Listen to God….he wants you to “jump-in-with-two-feet”
Ask God what your purpose is and then LISTEN for His response….It may be something that you yourself would say no to, unless otherwise pushed by God OUT of your comfort zone. God wants us to be about His business….not ours!!!
The body of Christ has to fill all different kinds of roles and areas…and they all have to work together…(1 Corinthians 12:12-14)
Ministry is not just standing behind a pulpit on Sunday morning and preaching the gospel. Ministry has been glamorized and confined within the four walls of a local church, but ministry is really in the trenches, on the streets, out where the people live, at work and in the marketplace. You may never preach the gospel inside a church building but that does not mean that you are not called to play an active and vital role in ministry. Remember that you are being equipped for the work of ministry.
I absolutely LOVE the book of Ephesians. Here is a great example of “doing ministry” and reaching out to those who are in the trenches, in the streets, in the projects, at your work, in your home, at the store, etc.
Ephesians 4:1-7, 15-16, 21-24, 32
Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all. 7 However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ.
Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
The Greek word for ministry is diakonia, meaning to… promote, proclaim, execute the will of another.
I want to be that person. I want to proclaim God’s love….I want to execute what it means to follow Jesus in all that I do and all that I say.
I don’t want to be normal.
I want to minister to the Island of Misfits.