Christian Excuses: A Great Children's Program
This Christian excuse brings to light a core misconception about the true purpose of the church. Was the church given to us primarily to meet our personal spiritual needs? Or was it given to us as a tool to meet other peoples needs? Is church about you, or is it about other people? For those familiar with the New Testament, specifically the book of Acts and Paul's letters, you know that the church was created as a conduit for transmitting encouragement, correction, growth, and salvation (among other things). According to Paul, every member should be participating, and that doesn't mean listening to a sermon and singing some songs. It means everyone brings something to the table. For some, it might be a gift of teaching, or songwriting, for others, it might be an encouragement or an insight from scripture or current events. But the most essential element of the ecclesiastical meeting it making war. In a New Testament style church, we go to battle every time we meet, because we understand that we are at war and that our enemy is always trying to destroy or distract us. He has many effective strategies, that is why we band together to fight against his plans to destroy the church and the testimony of Jesus Christ. This mentality might sound strange to some. You might think it is too aggressive. Maybe you believe that the church is supposed to be a place of peace. Perhaps that is why the church is in the emasculated state it is in today because we are living with pacifistic ideology during a time of war. It is Jesus himself that leads us into battle. Because every time we meet together as a church, we are meeting together with Jesus. To be in the presence of the Messiah IS to change. He reveals your lack of faith and the grudges you are holding against your neighbor, and he compels you to confess those things and abide in faith and forgiveness. We are not battling against a lost world, other religions, or even Satan (as if we could manage that!). We are fighting our sinful nature, and through the process of sanctification, we are loosening the grip that sin has on our lives. It's great that your church has a good children's program, but if they do not provide an environment for you to confess and tackle the habitual sins in your life openly, you need a new church.
If your church is not walking with people through depression and addiction issues, it may be just fluff.
If your church does not reach out to the community to meet needs and share the gospel, they may have lost their way.
If you have never been convicted about sinful behaviors and attitudes and then discipled and mentored into obedience to Christ, then you are at a factory for warm fuzzy feelings, not a church.
If your church does not draw you into an intimate personal experience with Jesus, then something needs to change. Sometimes it is the church that needs to change, but more often than not, it is your attitude. If you go into your church experience looking to give to others, to be challenged, to grow, and to know Christ, you are on the right track.
STOP MAKING EXCUSES
Find a group of Believers that you can go into battle with. Meet together regularly (in the church house, in your homes, at a local coffee shop, over the phone) and treat it like it is the most urgent thing in the world because it is. Don't be satisfied with a church that provides excellent programs and tasty coffee. These are not the people you want to go to war with. Seek out a church that cares about your spiritual growth and development and will fight for each other's sanctification. When hard times come, you will know you have chosen well.
If you would like to read the other entries in this series start here: