Florissant Church of Christ Newsletter Article for 2-7-21
What would you say church is? The options are endless. To many, church is a building at a specific location. Many see church as an organization or institution to join, participate in, and leave when you get tired of it. Others see church as a social services or community outreach program where volunteers can get involved and help those in need. A lot of folks simply see church as a place to attend, get inspired and motivated, and feel good about having done their weekly “God-thing” before starting a new week. Church provides and offers! Church gives positive experiences! Church makes worship fun and exciting! It is also very important that church does all this without having any expectations of support, commitment, and devotion to everyone else in the church, or so many have come to believe. To many, church has become more about keeping their distance from others rather than deepening connections with others. Church has become, for many people, a spectator event to be judge for its ability to excite, entertain, and offer an experience. None of which is bad but all of which can make deepening spiritual relationships unnecessary. The thinking of man today means finding the “right church” is less about who you love to be with and more about what you love to see happen.
I really do not mean to complain or criticize anything. I am simply sharing how I have seen our national church culture changing over the last two or three decades. My biblical definition of church comes from what it means to be family and a body. The local church is a family of God committed to loving one another and helping each other become more like Jesus. Most contemporary trends in church right now are less about relationship building and more about upbeat Sunday experiences. I hear Peter shouting, “Above all, love one another,” and the religious world seems to be shouting, “Above all, give me a positive experience!” These are not mutually exclusive except for the fact that one is commanded and other demanded. One is God’s plan and the other is man’s preference. The fewer and shallower the relationships, the easier it is to go shopping for a church that provides the best experience. Even the mega-church leaders often decry the speedy clearing of the church building because most of their folks have no one stick around for.
A Church without loving relationships is not a family. Being together without being caring and committed is the opposite of what that first group looked like in Acts 2:42-47. The major theme of what they were and what they did was having “all things in common.” Can any group really be a church if they are not loving one another as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for it?
After saying all that being said about togetherness, fellowship, and relationship building, and the fact that these define church – it is still not the most important part of being a disciple of Christ. Group dynamics and family support are important and essential, but they are secondary to each of us having our own personal relationship with Jesus. Even the apostles had to learn that vital lesson. This Sunday we are going to look at one of the ways Jesus taught that lesson to them and, hopefully, to us.
Join Mike and Donna on Wednesday evening at seven for NT16. The New Testament in sixteen weeks. We will look at each week’s reading from Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and deal with some questions from those readings. Next week we will talk about pages 158-175 or 2 Corinthian 7 and Galatians.
The week 5 reading in the Immerse Bible is pages 158-190 covering 2 Corinthians, Galatians, and Romans