Doing things the old way isn’t always the best way. But it’s equally true that doing things in new ways doesn’t make them better ways! I confess I do like considering new approaches and making new efforts to accomplish the Christian mission in our time. Sometimes that helps us … sometimes it hurts us … but I think there is merit in exploring new territory to try to reach out for Christ. Even so, I will admit that I am still old school in some areas that I think have great importance. Further, I’m not ashamed to be old school about these things!
*Warning* Personal opinions ahead. I’m not making these judgments for you to live by, I’m expressing my own thoughts. Don’t be offended if you think differently. Everybody has the equal opportunity to be wrong. You can smile now.
I Think Christians Ought To Go To Church When The Doors Are Open. I know most (all) churches have their set of problems. But nothing is solved by staying away. I would venture a guess that most people do not study their Bibles and pray MORE when they stay away from church. I don’t think that going to church solves all issues in our lives, nor does it guarantee a seat in the Heavenlies (only Jesus can do that!). But there is something that happens in the assembly that doesn’t happen elsewhere. Support your local church with your attendance and participation. Help it become what it needs to be. Be a team player and be dependable! Bring others along!
I Am A Proponent of Acappella Congregational Singing. Yes, anyone who follows me online knows I am a Hillsong fanatic. I enjoy going to Christian concerts and even worship services designed with instrumental music. But when the only sound in the building at the moment is the uplifted voices of the Saints … it’s a holier moment to me than most any other. It is a pure experience, in my opinion, because the message of the song rises unhampered by theatrics. I know it’s not as musically precise (and to be honest neither are some of the worship bands I have heard). I’ve been in some excruciating acappella services as well – times when it would have been a praise to God to just get quiet. But given all our human foibles, acappella congregational singing best unites the gathered Christians vocally, with praise going to God and not to other humans.
I Am Glad My Tribe Celebrates the Lord’s Supper Every Week. Listening to podcasts and reading writings of other denominations, I’m often caught by surprise when there is some jubilant announcement like, ‘Hey, we’re having communion this Sunday! Awesome!’ Yep it is so awesome that it is relegated to quarterly observance! Maybe it’s my upbringing, but I cannot imagine worshiping week after week without communing together. The message of the Eucharist is unity, remembrance, and looking forward … these are core to who we are as Christians. I have a sense that the earliest Christians communed even more than we do … and the presence of Christ as the host of His table was a conscious part of their daily lives.
I Still Believe in Sunday School. Until we reach the point where families are studying together frequently, and Christians are in the Word as they should be, I think Sunday School serves a great purpose. The people that I know who are thirsty for God’s Word are Sunday school attenders and participants (and teachers). There may be some individuals out there who turn their nose up at Sunday School who are diligent Bible students, but I suspect most study less when they do not participate in a class.
I Still Love the Church. I know there are terrible church stories about people who have acted badly, but the best people I ever met in my life were strong members of the church. When I read the Scriptures I do not find a church-hating people – but a gathered people … a community of faith … living the life of Christ together. So you can talk bad about church if you want to, but I love my Christian family! I love spending time with them pursuing holiness and discipleship … love and support … weeping together and laughing together … I really love the church.
I can see the rolling eyes now from those who feel free from legalistic constraints. But I don’t view these as legalistic obligations as much as they are opportunities to honor God. I also wonder if those who abstain from the above find other ways to honor God …or they just are glad not to feel like they have to be at church on Sunday morning!
God bless you on your journey with Christ. Thanks for reading, JD.