It has been a heck of a summer. So many things going on, emotional highs, emotional lows, a metaphorical roller coaster of feelings both physical and mental. All while a the United States does its best to rend itself to pieces. The depression caused by the news used to be kind of a joke, but now, its not funny at all. Moreover, there is a steady dilution of Christianity all for the sake of making someone feel like they belong.
In a recent article on Relevant Magazine, I got the distinct feeling that the entire point of church was being missed entirely. The premise of the article was about the need for churches to reach single millenials and the changes in structure and understanding that need to be made. It was all about how the church needed to start serving that specific generation better.
Before I go any further in this let me explain my point of view a bit more. I was born in 1980, I can remember the 80’s with fondness, and I can definitely remember the 90’s with even more. My attitude has been shaped by the changes that took place in those two decades. Quite frankly, they weren’t easy. The world suddenly became a lot faster all around me with the improvement of technology. The music changed vastly in the first 20 years of my life. Not only that, but in the 90’s fashion and music and language changed so fast it was head spinning. Church also changed, because there was suddenly a generation that was coming up in a different type of post 60’s understanding. We had witnessed major figures in evangelism fall to the detriment of many. Suddenly it was okay to begin to question what it was we were believing. This was not in an act of rebellion, but in a quest for truth. For me it formed a hardened attitude against what society had created. My generation is the generation squished in between. We are generation of chameleons who have been forced to change and make do in order to keep up. And yes, that does make a difference when it comes to how we view Christianity and how we view church ( or at least it does or me).
The problem that we have come to in modern church is the idea that the church is supposed to serve us. We can access goods instantly in the world as consumers, why shouldn’t our church experience be the same. Well, because, quite simply, it shouldn’t. The church does not exist to serve you. Does the church serve you, yes, yes it does. However, that is more a by product of the fruits of the spirit, of worship, of the word of God. But when I read the New Testament, I don’t see people looking for the church to serve them, I see people looking to serve the church. It is the gathering of believers, ecclesia, where we all get together and lift each other up, and grow in our faith. It is where we worship as a corporate body. The hardest thing for us to understand in this country of free people is that we are incredibly spoiled as Christians. You don’t like the preaching, you can go to another church. You don’t like the music, you can go to another church or even another service. This was unheard of in the New Testament. They were more concerned with, I don’t know, spreading the gospel and not being killed while doing it.
Nowadays we are more concerned about whether or not we can where ugly hats in worship, or drink coffee in the sanctuary. We are attempting to eat church. We are trying to consume God in some way or another, yet always the wrong way. God wants to fill us with His word, and His spirit. Yet when we do things like “church shop” and walk away from other believers because we can’t have the kind of mixer that we want to have, we are not getting God, we are getting ourselves, every time. Selfishness is a box in which live and expect everyone else to conform. That is not what the church is. The church is a body, and everyone in the body has role to perform, a job to do. A consumerist generation will only leave a stripped and dead entity because it doesn’t understand that our job as Christians is to share the love of Jesus with everyone, to depend on God to provide, and to walk by faith. That doesn’t mean we go in on a Sunday, or Saturday ( I guess it depends on how hip your current church is) and then take our designer, recycled, 100% gluten free faith home and leave it there. I guess in short, to quote my 11th grade Sunday School teacher, “It ain’t about you”. Its about The Kingdom of God.