Thursday, May 21, 2009

"A Church That Rocks" Isn't My Criteron in Looking for a Church

I received a flyer from a local church recently with the following copy:

People avoid church for all kinds of reasons.

"It's boring!"
"All they want is my money."
"The music is lame!"

[Church name] is not like that ... we're different!

You'll enjoy great rock music, messages that make sense (and make you laugh), plus hundreds of cool, outgoing people and great programs for kids.

It's church without snoring. You are invited.

Come check it out this Sunday!

If that's what church is about, I think I'd rather sleep in Sunday mornings.

I'm not interested in a church that rocks or has relevant music--I've got a radio that works. I'm not interested in messages that make me laugh--I've got a TV; for that matter, I've got a few collections of Calvin & Hobbes. I'm not interested in hundreds of cool people--I'm not cool, so finding common interests may be a bit of a challenge. I'm not interested in hundreds of outgoing people--I'm an introvert, and I really don't feel like being overwhelmed.

So why go to church? Here are a few reasons that come to mind:
  1. To meet with the living God (1 Tim 3:15)
  2. To know and understand truth (1 Tim 3:15)
  3. To avoid being hardened by sin's deceitfulness (Heb 3:13)
  4. To glorify God with other like-minded disciples (Rom 15:5-6)
  5. To be strengthened in the faith and to also strengthen others in their faith (Rom 1:11-12; 1 Cor 12:7)
  6. To pray with other believers (Mt 18:19-20; 21:13)
  7. To search the Scriptures with other believers (Acts 17:11)
  8. To help me not be conformed to the pattern of this world but transformed by the renewing of my mind (Rom 12:2)
  9. To confess my sins that I might be prayed for and healed (Jas 5:16)

As a pastor, I am not interested in keeping up with trends to attract people to attending church. I am interested in preaching to people's needs, their deepest needs that they may not even recognize but are there nonetheless. I am interested in attracting people and keeping people because the Holy Spirit is at work in us.

If I attract them with laughter and rockin' music, and if I keep them with laughter and rockin' music, so what? Church attendance doesn't save. What saves is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Part of the gospel is the recognition of sin and guilt before God. That's not fun, but it is necessary.

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