H  O  M  E          
Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
Blogroll
 
T.U.L.I.P.
  • - Endorsed
  • - Indifferent
  • - Contested
 
I Affirm This
The Nashville Statement
 
Autobiographical
 
Profile
Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
My complete profile...
 
The Buzz


Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
- C-Train

This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
 
Email Me
email
Thursday, June 10, 2010
What if church is boring?
First of all, church isn't what happens on Sunday morning. If you are bored with your Sunday Service, you aren't finding church boring, you are finding your Sunday morning service boring. There is grand difference between the two.

The church isn't the service, and it isn't the building, it is the term we use to describe the body of Christ, that is, the body of believers. To say that you find church boring is to say that you find other Christians boring, and that is probably not true.

In fact, the first notable sign of spiritual life is that strong and pressing desire to get with other Christians and speak (and listen talk) about the things of God. Fellowship is almost always interactive and conversational - a sharing in that union by which we who are in Christ were joined to Him.

I don't doubt that one of the reasons we have things like the "house church" movement or the emergent church - is to try and turn Sunday mornings into formalized fellowship. To try and capture what ought to be the flavor of our fellowship when gathered together for mutual comfort and conversation, and turn -that- into our coffee sipping Sunday service (disservice?)

Christians should have fellowship with other Christians. They should get together for prayer, bible study, and the fellowship that comes unrehearsed when gathered for these reasons. While this is vital to the health both of the individual and the church, and while we might even call this the bread and butter of church life - it is not what is supposed to be happening Sunday morning.

On Sunday morning, the early church gathered together - all of them. They were given instruction from God's word on how to live according to the new covenant. They were made aware of needs and given opportunity to meet those needs in prayer and again in providing from their own means - you know, the one who had two gave one to the one who had none. This was the work of the Spirit. In some ways it was probably more formal than most of our Sunday services, and again, in other ways, less formal.

I doubt many of those meetings were very entertaining, yet people who were focused on Christ probably enjoyed these times immensely, not for their entertainment value, but rather because they loved Christ, and loved the fruit of the ministry that was going on every Sunday morning.

Here then is the wrong heart for Sunday morning: The heart that wants to be served. The formal weekly gathering of the early church on Sunday mornings was never a production - never a consumer event. You didn't come to consume entertainment, or even personal enrichment. You came to serve. If I can be bold here, this was true, not only of Sunday morning, but of everything they did. They didn't call themselves "slaves of Christ" as a sort of rustic sounding but ultimately vain label, the way many do today. A slave of Christ gathers with the body of Christ to serve it. Where Christ is, there His servant is also. If Christ came to serve, guess what?

I know a great many think of serving as something we do elsewhere. Often we think of Christian service as something you do "outside of church". You know, hand out gospel tracts on a street corner, or evangelize door to door, or start up some kind of "helps" ministry. More often than not, we tend to let our money work instead of our hands however - giving money to others who feed and clothe the poor in our name - or share the gospel. We call that "giving to missions" etc. I would hazard to guess that most Christians "give" so that they don't have to "do". They are far more willing to part with some portion of their disposable income, than they are to minister to the needy in this world. That is just an observation. If the Holy Spirit uses that to convict, let it be.

All I am saying is that when we think of service as something external, we tend to think either in terms of missions or some sort of helps ministry, either personal or put on by the "church". We think of those who have a microphone on Sunday morning as the ones who "minister" to the body, and everyone else as being "ministered" to. Such that everyone who shows up on Sunday morning and isn't involved in the "ministry" is there to consume it - and I don't think that is what Sunday morning was like in the early church.

I am not saying that it wasn't present to some degree - people and sin being what they are, it probably didn't take long to fall into the kind of consumer-driven meetings that make up the majority of Sunday services in our day. What I am saying is that if you find Sunday morning boring, it is because you are not there in the Spirit, but there in the flesh, as it were. You have not come to serve, but to be served, and having come thus, you now find the fare not up to your standards because you have an expectation that isn't being met.

Maybe you want to be entertained. Maybe you want to be informed. Maybe you find the formal service gratingly routine. Maybe you don't like the preaching, or the preacher, or the singing, or the song leader, or the songs, or the music, or the pews, or the view out the window, or the sounds of traffic, or the type of music, or the decor, or the carpet.

Maybe it is something less tangible, like a vague but overwhelming sense of spiritual inertia, the sense that God -isn't- working in "this" church, and that because we are "doing" church wrong - a creeping bitterness that things are happening at the spiritual pace you think they ought to be. Maybe you think the leadership is weak, or the teaching doesn't reflect your personal theological bent, and this gnaws at you on Sunday morning, so that your Sunday mornings do little more for you than foster and feed the growing and bitter criticism that is slowly devouring and defining you.

Whatever the case, if you find Sunday services boring, it almost certainly has far more to do with you and your heart than it does with the service itself. If you came to serve, and you came in the Spirit (and frankly, you can't have one without the other), then you will come with patience, and with your ear to the ground, anticipating God's work, glorying in it, and doing whatever is in your power to see God glorified in it. If that means digging deep within to sing from your heart that tired old cliche of a pop chorus yet again, or again, if that means buckling down on your wondering mind so that you are listening intently to the latest in a protracted series of (what you consider to be) wiener-water sermons - then do that; but remember you have come to serve, and in these things, find a way in Christ to serve the body as you do them. Are the sermons weak? How much time did you pray this week for the message? Are the "worship" songs superficial? Again, have you labored at the throne this week, for the songs, the singing, and especially for your own heart, that you might receive these, such as they are, with maturity, grace, and joy? Do you receive these things with a tender heart that marvels at God's patience in these matters, and comes along our Christ in prayer, interceding for these things, that God may be more evident in our song, in our prayer, and in our instruction? Or do you ignore them until Sunday, then complain in your heart that they are not what they could and "should" be?

Maybe you truly are in the deadest church in town. Maybe you really are in the midst of a carnal throng that wouldn't know fellowship if it hit them upside the head. But that is no excuse for your attitude on Sunday morning. If you come to congregate with God's people and you recoil from it because you find it boring - let me tell you, you're heart isn't in it, and if your heart isn't in it, it is because you heart is somewhere else. It has nothing to do with how good the preaching, singing, or service happen to be, and has everything to do with where we personally are in our walk with God.

Sunday morning is not boring, it is serving.

Labels:

posted by Daniel @ 7:19 AM  
9 Comments:
  • At 10:31 PM, June 10, 2010, Blogger Mike Erich the Mad Theologian said…

    I would agree, too often we come Sunday morning with the attitude not to serve but to served. We need to get beyond the consumer driven concept of the church on both sides of the pulpit and we need to start with ourselves. After all I am the one person I have to best chance to truly change.

     
  • At 11:28 PM, June 10, 2010, Blogger JIBBS said…

    I Lutheran guy once told me that faithfully attending church and listening to the Word being preached is itself a good work (within the framework of Ephesians 2:10). I'm not Lutheran so I blew him off.

    It took me a long time to appreciate the wisdom in his words.

     
  • At 11:44 PM, June 10, 2010, Blogger JIBBS said…

    BTW

    The whole Emergent thing is really causing me problems. I was chumming it up with a brother after our workday ended and he told me his church was going through NOOMA. I almost had a heart attack. I consider him rock solid (although not necessarily theological and doctrinal minded) and couldn't believe Rob Bell had infiltrated his church. I expressed my concern and he looked at me like I have 4 heads. I found out later he was actually offended that I think Rob Bell is a heretic.

    But finding any solid critique of Bell on the internet has proved to be difficult. I want to find something concise I can share with him but it seems Bell is very complicated and hard for anyone to pin down. It's like nailing Jello to a wall.

    Any ideas, Daniel? Are you familiar with Bell's doctrine?

     
  • At 9:02 AM, June 12, 2010, Blogger David Kjos said…

  • At 9:13 AM, June 12, 2010, Blogger David Kjos said…

    Daniel,

    Good work. I have just one problem: "digging deep within to sing from your heart that tired old cliche of a pop chorus yet again." You're no doubt right about that in many cases. However, am I supposed to do that when the song is not just a tired old cliche, but utter nonsense to boot? I don't think I can do that. In fact, I'm sure I don't want to even try. And that's the problem with so many so-called "worship" songs. They aren't just poor poetry, they're nonsensical or flat-out untrue. Ah, I long for the old days of cheesey-but-true campfire songs!

     
  • At 9:19 AM, June 12, 2010, Blogger Daniel said…

    David,

    If the song is junk, as is sometimes the case, I absolve you from digging deep. In those instances it is acceptable and even appropriate just to hang your head low in silent prayer.

    Oh, and thanks for the links. I was pretty swamped and didn't look into that for Matt.

     
  • At 7:50 PM, June 12, 2010, Blogger JIBBS said…

    Thanks David

    and Daniel, I understand...

     
  • At 4:11 PM, June 17, 2010, Blogger Jim said…

    Daniel, where did this term "Sunday Services" originate from anyways?

    I appreciate the content of this post; probably more so now than I would have in the past.

     
  • At 10:46 PM, June 17, 2010, Blogger Daniel said…

    Jim, I also wonder where that term did come from?

     
Post a Comment
<< Home
 
 
 
Previous Posts
 
Archives
 
Links
 
Atom Feed
Atom Feed
 
Copyright
Creative Commons License
Text posted on this site
is licensed under a
Creative Commons
Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5
License
.