I am not sure if I am equipped to enter this discussion. Honestly, I have written and erased a new post two times (check that–three times) already. I’m not a youth pastor, an ordained preacher, or a theologian. I have no idea how we should “do” church. I am an English professor who likes church. So, I guess I need to start there.
Literary history has taught me that each literary movement does not live in a vaccum. It is a part of a cultural moment that is responding to a previous cultural moment. Romanticism is a result of those who rejected the Enlightenment, and Realism took hold when writers resisted Romantic ideas. This is just like the church. Each generation seems to know exactly how to do church because the previous generation or era got it wrong. It is certainly interesting as it keeps conversation lively, but I believe we spill a lot of ink trying to figure out how to “do” church without speaking enough about how to “be” the church.
What I love about my new tiny church in NW Arkansas is that it is a place to worship. We praise God, confess our sins, hear the Word, pray for our world and our brothers and sisters, and listen for God’s presence. In essence, we worship.
Julia and I have had long talks about church experiences where we leave complaining about the preaching, or the music, or the seating/lighting/sound, or the order of worship, blah blah blah. In those moments we know we have ignored God entirely. We have pushed God out of His space of worship and made it about us.
Why is it that we demand churches to be relevant? What we must demand is that our churches be authentic (one of the comments mentioned that). We have been placed here to worship God and enjoy Him forever. If that ain’t happenin’ at church, then it’s just entertainment, and my life is already full of entertainment.