Bear with me as I fantasize. About Sunday morning. At church.
The worship leader begins the service with: “Everybody please be seated. I don’t know why I’ve asked you to stand every time we sing. But whatever the reason, I realized it’s become just another cliche´. So please be seated.”
The pastor begins the sermon–and stops after five minutes. “That’s it. I really don’t need to say any more. You got the point. Some of Jesus’ best stuff took no longer than five minutes to deliver. I like his style. Amen.”
The pastor concludes the service with an assignment: “Spend the next week looking for God in action. Then come back next Sunday. We’re suspending the singing. And the sermon. We’re just going to listen to your stories of your God sightings. Have a good week.”
Thanks for indulging me and my fantasies. What’s yours?
If that is church – how frightening!! I am sure God is getting tired of the way the churches are going. I was brought up to humble myself before God. Thanks for Holy Soup!! God bless
I guess it depends on whether you think you ‘are’ the church seven days a week or whether you believe you ‘go’ to church to meet God inside those four or more walls. I love hearing those God stories…I enjoy your ‘soup’.
Another fantasy – The congregation never sits but stands the entire service out of reverence for God – like the Eastern Orthodox do (sitting during worship was a western invention). The congregation sings actual hymns well and loves the content. The people can’t wait to hear the sacred Word of God read and for the pastor to offer his homily to them as a gift of love–the way a father offers guidance to his children–and that they would not force him to perform or entertain them and they woul stay off their phones during this time (how rude to check your phone while God is speaking), The people pray for not only their needs but the needs of the world because God’s house is a house of prayer. That the people would pray the Lord’s Prayer together and recite the ancient creeds together in connection with God’s people through the ages. That all ages are included in the same service instead of being torn apart based on whether they like drums or not.. That every service would culminate in the Lord’s Tablle.Where these patterns would not change every time the pastor joined in on the latest fad.Thanks for indulging a pastors fantasy.
@ John, I agree! God’s house is a place to come and worship. A place to love God and love our neighbors. A place to recharge! A place to share our experiences, hurts, feelings, troubles, needs, and most importantly to give thanks to the Creator of the universe for not giving us what we deserve.
Love God, love others, call sin what it IS, share the love of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit in every imaginable way, at church and all week long! I NEED the “church” time to recharge! I need the “crutch” of the fellowship of the Saints!
This is most interesting to me. Guess I have some reading to do about Eastern Orthodox churches.
Hmm…my fantasy would be of church that could be open to other views without prejudice–a place where someone could share their doubts, beliefs, opinions without fear of being rejected or shamed. A church that would welcome and value differences, not make sameness its goal.
I wish you could come to my church…and I pray that God finds you a church home you are comfortable in. No one is perfect, but our church really does strive to be open, welcoming, and accepting, no matter what. If sameness were the goal, Jesus would not have picked 12 such diverse men to follow Him, not to mention the women. It is sad when a church is only comfortable when its members are conforming to its own ideals.
Thanks, Sher. Actually, I currently am in a church that is open and it is a breath of fresh air compared to where I was before.
I’d love if kids could share their stories of God working in them and have adults see these stories as important as another adult’s.
Praise God! I am so happy to hear that. I, too, am at a pretty open church. You can show up in blue jeans and bare feet for all we care. We just want to share Jesus with you. I just wish…we could have more times of sharing the miracles in our lives to encourage others. Wishful thinking……..God bless you!
And there are many examples for kids to share with adults! We could learn a lot from the youth.
Very important for youth to tell how God works in their lives! They can be an example for the rest of us!
I have a feeling that God gets “tired” of us trying to remake the wheel, or make it run smoother or something. I would LOVE to hear my pastor say something like that! As our church office manager, I have begged more than once to lay aside the sermon in favor of stories of “God in action”…miracles of healing, of being saved by His grace, of sharing the story of Jesus and having someone take it on the spot and ask for baptism…of “brands plucked from the fire” and so much more. Our souls NEED to hear these stories so that we know it still happens. But, I have not been listened to. I am not saying I don’t get fed at church, because I do, but my heart and soul longs to hear the stories of others…be it their pain or their praise. As a church, are we not there for those very reasons?
As for standing rather than sitting, I kinda like to stand when I sing in praise of my Savior. I don’t care if there are drums or an organ. I simply love praising my Jesus with my voice and my heart.
I also agree with John Fanella’s viewpoints, and also Emily’s, who wishes children could share in church. Its wrong to not let them. How are they going to get comfortable before Jesus and the church family if they don’t share their story?
Wishful thinking…thank you for sharing your wishful thinking, Thom.
Preach it Tom (but only for 5 minutes!) I’m right there with you.
What if Sunday was only every other week or even once a month and we assembled groups into action teams that had permission to be active and the hands of Christ in the community. They are “affinity groups” if you will. Then we gather and worship but also share what has happened in our ministry action teams and invite folks to cross over and try something different for the next month.
Worship is a time to come and celebrate our lives together as children of God but a church is assembled for action – not filling pews.
So creating ways to get them out of the church in a way that lifts them up as a faith/congregational community as well.
Keep the ideas coming Tom.
And I’d love to hear people sharing here what has happened if they have tried your “fantasies!”
I met a pastor last spring who leads a church that does something like that. They only meet for worship once a month, then the rest of the time they spend doing outreach. The congregation may only meet in their building once a month, but they work with hundreds of people weekly who come to their food pantry, health clinic, and through their community garden. We had a very interesting conversation, and I loved hearing about what his congregation was doing.
I so love this idea. I know that some folks would not take part, and others would howl about not being in God’s house every week, but what an amazing way to reach the community and the world. Yes…I would love it if my church did something like this. Yes…I would take part, and yes, just to think about it makes my heart excited and full of longing. Someday…maybe some day soon… thank you for sharing.
I would love to meet this pastor! Do you know the town or contact? This is right in line with some of the things we are working on in our denomination.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if church actually became what God likes instead of what we like. If you stop and think about that it really has some powerful implications!! When we go to church it really should not be about us at all. It is too easy for us, including myself, to get this turned around.
@ Rob, Exactly! Don’t confuse church with our daily call to be Christlike!
We don’t go to church, we are the Church. However the Church does meet. Here and there during the week, usually in bigger gatherings once a week.
At some meetings people play instruments while we sing – maybe we’ll stand while we sing. At other gatherings, someone may play a guitar or no one will play anything at all while we sit and sing songs that we take turns leading out.
A brother or sister may give a 20 minute or so talk to teach or encourage us. Or we may take turns sharing what God has been doing in our lives.
We may share “The Lord’s Table” every week, or we may make the Eucharist (Good Thanksgiving) part of a table we share as a meal.
When the Church meets it is not about a certain way of doing things. It is about sharing Christ. We share him by being present. We share him by ministering to others.
We are not there to just take in something that has been prepared to be presented, no matter how large or small of a group the Church has gathered in. We are there to give thanks for Christ and to share him with others.
Oh David, I agree. The meeting time is the place to encourage each other in our faith! To me as well, it is not about the way we do things or just having a service so we can say we went to church that week. Church to me is a gathering together of believers (and non believers) for the Holy Spirit to encourage and strengthen, each one building each other up. There are some Biblical guidelines, concerning the gifts God gave man in Ephesians and how we approach a Holy God – in awe and worship. THEN it’s time to BE the church, outside the four walls, witnessing, sharing Christ an serving our families and others around us. AND I LOVE GATHERING TOGETHER!
“Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” If it’s small groups, or
service projects, Bible studies, or worship service —-it’s about God. I believe we need all of this to be God in our community. Worship services are about praising God —and I love the spirit-filled music and messages when I am at a Jesus-centered church!
My wishful thinking would include no church labeled as a denomination. I have seen over and over people cling to denominational differences and traditions rather than Jesus Christ.