Everywhere we turn these days we hear the words: “I’m very spiritual, but not religious.” this is a polite way of saying: “I don’t go to church because it does nothing for me, for me, for me, FOR ME!”
This shows a fallacy that Americans have about what “church” is and should be. To most of us in the U.S. we think of church as a place to go to be entertained. We “church shop” just like we “entertainment shop.” Which church has the best preacher—-one that we really like? Which church has the best music? Which church has a service that “speaks to me”? which church offers the best programs for both adults and youth and children? which church is the friendliest? Which church has the most comfortable seats? Which church offers the best hospitality—coffee and donuts, etc.?
Looks pretty shallow when we put it that way, doesn’t it? Also, it looks very true if we are to be honest enough to admit it!
As long as we are ruled by “FOR ME” then those are the bases for our choice of church or no church.
How many of us look for churches that will help us spiritually transform ourselves?
Paul wrote to the Roman churches: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good, and acceptable, and perfect.” Rom. 12:2
TRANSFORMATION! That is the reason for going to church. It just doesn’t take place outside a body of believers who are striving to make God the center and driving force of their lives. To be spiritually transformed is to place God at the center and make God the driving force of your life, rather than yourself being that center.
A family of believers who are striving to make God the center and driving force of their church rather than the needs of their institution is the church we should be seeking. A transformed church is a transforming church.
All the shallow questions asked at the beginning of this post contribute nothing to what we really need to search for in a church! What we need to search for are fellow-travelers along the Way of Jesus that will help us deepen our relationship to God. That will lead us to true worship of the God who created us and who loves us and has called us to be his children. Amen.