But if it is churches you are looking for you have come to the right place. You can’t swing a belt made of Bibles (a Bible Belt if you will) without hitting a church. Not that I encourage the throwing of Bibles at Churches of course.
But do we have too many? Or do we actually have too few? Do we feel welcome in Churches? Would we be comfortable bringing our friends? Or is that the wrong question? Should the question be, are we living our lives as a Church that naturally includes our friends?
If you are looking for a Church that is pretty traditional and conservative you can take your pick. If you are looking for a church that is a really lively, charismatic and sing the brand new Hillsong music every week then you can take your pick too. It would seem that there is a type of church in Northern Ireland that can suit anyone and everyone.
But is that really the case?
Or is it just that there are plenty of churches that cater for…other Christians?
We love to talk about inviting our friends to church. We love to pimp up our church as fresh, new and relevant. We love to think we are different.
But are we?
Would any of your friends who don’t believe in God be comfortable going to your church with people raising their hands to God?
Sometimes church is just a place for Christians to come and catch up, sing and listen to someone talk for a bit. There is nothing wrong with that and there is no denying that church services can be very powerful. That in moments of worship or teaching or communion etc. we can experience God in a fresh, unique way that connects us with him and with the people around us. It can be amazing. Most of us though have gone to church our whole lives and are comfortable to some degree with that sort of thing. A lot more of us aren’t.
Making church livelier or hip seems to be the obvious answer when we are looking at new ways to get people interested in our church. We talk about relevancy as if old hymns have become outdated. As if our church forefathers were old fogies who never smiled and thought clapping was of the devil. We introduce drums and lights to attract people. Again nothing wrong with those things.
But that’s not the issue to getting people interested in coming in our church. In fact getting people into our church isn’t even the issue. The issue is how do we introduce people to Jesus through how we do church.
Maybe the questions should be
What if we went to church everyday?
What I mean is, what if everyday we lived our lives in a community with other Christians and together we lived in community with people who aren’t Christians?
What if church meant everyone? What if church was not a service but a way of life? Where everyone is in. What if we are in church when
we go to work.
we go to a gig.
we go to the pub.
we go to the gym.
we are walking down my street.
We invite our friend around for dinner because they have been working 60 hours this week.
We buy groceries for our neighbours who are struggling this month to make rent.
That’s a church I can see myself being a part of. One where we don’t just worship God by singing David Crowder songs but by living with and for others.
But let’s be honest that’s hard.
And maybe that’s why we haven’t been very good at it.
I sometimes think what it would be like if there was no church on a Sunday. What if the culture of getting up on a Sunday morning never existed? Maybe it would force us out of our pews and actually live like Christ in our everyday lives and maybe by doing that we would see Jesus released out into the world.
Obviously we can and should do both. But sometimes I think we get caught up in Sunday mornings so much so that we forget about the other days of the week.
Is our Jesus bigger than a Sunday for an hour or two?
Are we holding Jesus back?
Is that how you would see Church? How would you do church differently? Would church still be church if the focus wasn’t on a Sunday service?