Monday, January 19, 2009

Being The Church

"I have visited a lot of churches throughout my short life, and in the last 10 years, I can recall only once when a couple I did not know came up to me after a service and invited me and my wife to a meal with them."

I read that today on this blog and was really struck by the implied challenge.  

So much of my emotional and physical resources are spent thinking about church, preparing for church, working for church, talking to people about church, "doing" church - and yet this one statement (along with what followed) really got me thinking about what it means for me to say that I "do church".

I prepare, work for, talk about, "do" church - but am I being the church?

I'm going to spend some time today thinking about this, and asking God to show me how I can step up.

"I believe that until we get our thinking to change from church being something we go to as opposed to something that we are, we will never understand the call to community and communion...

This thinking of going versus being has permeated our culture in more than just church. Gone are the days when work was something we did. We now
go to work. Education used to be something that we did by learning at all times. Now we go to school. We've removed the responsibility of being the church, doing work, and learning by making it something other than a part of us. Perhaps this is why it's easier to complain about church, work and school because they are places instead of postures.

Our thinking must change. Our actions must change. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., '
One of the great tragedies of life is that men seldom bridge the gulf between practice and profession, between doing and saying.' He was also convinced that action by a few wasn't enough, it would take all of us. 'I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.' " - Brad Abare, emphasis mine


Dean Lusk said...

Man, oh, man. I've been really hitting this hard for the past few weeks -- so much so that I think I'm starting to annoy people with it. But that's good!

"...change from church being something we go to as opposed to something that we are..."


To keep cementing this mindset at our church fellowship, about a year ago our youth pastor and I created "Be the Church" T-shirts. That's it, plain and simple. Black shirt, white print. And even wearing those suckers makes you constantly remember who you are.

It's weirly phenomenal to see this being recognized across the country. I've been meeting with other worship leaders in town lately and it's the very same thing they're trying to teach to their congregations. It seems to be a no-brainer, but "going to church" a die-hard philosophy that's very integrated into people's minds. It's deintegration time...

dorothy (vicar of vibe) said...

For me, if I had to stop doing everything "for church" and only focus on one thing...
It would be hanging out at Starbucks. It is my heart's discontent.
I strongly believe that I am being church when I am hugging the Muslim co-worker woman who just had a miscarriage this week.
I am being church when I am listening to the lonely transvestite (waiting for sex change surgery) cry over how much hatred is spewed at her/him.
I am being the church when I hold hands with a gal at work who had an affair; as she and her husband are struggling to put their marriage back together.

Everything I do “at church” is done with the same purpose. Again…
Entice the skeptic, challenge the lukewarm and spark passion in the believer to reach out to His lost children…

It is everything I am for Him…