Monday, July 23, 2007

"I Don't Need to Go to Church"

My heart hurts tonight. For what feels like the thousandth time, I heard the words above. I dropped some teens off in their neighborhood, and a guy approached asking what we were upto with our church. He told me that he prays to God and reads His Bible. The way that he said it, seemed to be telling me the following: "I don't need to go to church. I have my own relationship with God." I asked him if he had anyone who knew his business, if he had anyone to whom he could confess his sins. I told him that he can come as he is to Contact Church, no need to dress up. He asked if we had child molesters at our church.

What is underneath the surface of his statements and questions? Mistrust of churches. Being burned by people in authority at churches. Not seeing the love of God among Christians. Dislike at having to walk with people that you don't like but are saved by Jesus and being sanctified by the Spirit. Pride in having to admit that you are weak and need others to help you walk with God. I think most Christians who go to church have probably had those thoughts or feelings at one time or another. I do not know his story. That is perhaps the reason that my heart hurts. He has reached a point in which he has found individualism as a yoke that is easier to bear than the yoke of community. In some ways, I cannot blame him. Why go to a place where you feel horrible about yourself, and that the people there don't make it any easier for you? Maybe the community of God's people does not image God together, the way we image God individually.

What I dream of doing is going up to Cody and saying, "Let's have church right here. Where two or three are gathered...right?" Pray for the church that we can represent God well as His community.

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