Friday, September 17, 2010

5 1/2 What I Like About Church

Isn't it amazing what people focus on? I was thinking about the different church movements, or whatever you call them: Hipster, Emergent, Relevant, Authentic, Charismatic blah blah blah. I don't think these terms aquatically express what is important to me as a believer.

Does it really matter whether we meet in a home, or in a mega-church building in an Industrial Park? Does it matter if we use beanbags for pews? What are the basics of a persons faith? Reading the Bible, prayer, and going to church?

What is important to a Christians anyway? Here are my top 5 1/2

-1 The Presence of God: I remember the first few times I felt the manifest presence of the Almighty. The day I went from darkness to light.  There was time I sat in the sanctuary with the candle; symbolic of His presence, at it lit the host on the altar. Amazing. My wife and I went to a church in East Boston and sat in his presence for a few hours - just beautiful. When I was in Brazil, I was at a Presbyterian church, an the presence of God was so profound it was hard to stand up.

-2 Prayer: I am not talking about the tossing thoughts up in the air type of thing, but the knowing you are in communion with God, and knowing what to pray, and waiting to hear his response. It is more than faith - I actually find that rather easy - but a "knowingness" as I ask for things, and ask Him to reveal things. I don't know about you, but I can't just pray, I need to have a 2-way conversation. For me, there is nothing worse than feeling like  am tossing prayers into thin air.

-3 Spiritual Gifts: I love to watch the Lord in action. I like the gifts that I have, and I love to be with others that do not have my gifts - being a body is great! I am always astounded by healing, casting out of demons, prophecy and the like. I just don't know how Christians can go to church week-after-week and not really experience God. It seems so boring, uninviting and religious. The gifts are God's expression of love to us, and our use of them is the expression of love to others.

-4 Musical Worship: I love to tell Jesus how much I love Him! I think praise and worship - singing out to God is such a wonderful privilege. I have done it for many years in many different styles - but it's the same God.

-5 Communion: There is something deep and meaningful in remembering the death and resurrection of Jesus.

-5 1/2 Fellowship, but nobody seems to have time for that.

What is important to you in your walk with Christ?


photogr said...

Just knowing that He is there leading me and feeling His presence.

Dani said...

Your list sums up satisfying church life for me very well :) I've also grown to value the corporate anointing that can only be found in the unity of worship and faith with other church members. So many times I've struggled with things by myself but was delivered, touched, heard from God under a corporate manifestation of God that isn't available in individual communion with Him. Christians who downplay the importance of membership in the Body are truly missing God's will and fullness of His works in their life.

My one caveat in your list is that genuine fellowship is extremely important but perhaps the hardest thing to guarantee for many church-goers. Used to be that most churches were community rooted and family oriented, so there were existing social groups that flourished in a church environment. Nowadays there are many more singles, divorcees, transients who've moved to various places, and just isolated folks in general. It's a hard thing to feel great about a church's doctrine and experience the presence of God there, yet walk away lonely week after week because of how hard it is to connect on deep levels with others. I believe that social isolation plays a big part in attrition rates at many churches.

David said...

@Dani - I am with you - that is why I put it at the end. I am one of those, that in 3 churches in 4 years, basically left week after week alone.

charlie's church of Christ said...

how is the fellowship the 1/2? that should be like no. 2! I guess I'm splitting hairs.

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