I have been thinking a lot about church lately. Some good thoughts, some not-so-good thoughts. This morning my wife and kids stayed home, and I went to go check out a church we had never been too, but one that I had been mildly interested in since we moved down here. It served to confirm that the decision to be involved elsewhere was a good decision.
I could certainly say that the music was cheesy, the preaching wasn’t good, and nobody said a word to me other than the guy who opened the door for me when I arrived. But in thinking about that, I realized how quick and easy it is to place the “blame” all over that church. My description takes virtually no responsibility for my experience there. Perhaps the music was solid lyrically, I really didn’t pay attention to the sermon and only listened here and there and therefore missed a solid exposition of Philippians 3, and that nobody said a word to be because I didn’t give them the opportunity because I was in and out as fast as I could go.
The more I think about it, I do not think it fair to put all of the responsibility on the church. Being able to make a church service tailor to every different type of person in every different place in life/faith perfectly is an impossibility. It is all too easy to enter a critical state of mind and throw out good with the not-so-good.
When we go to church, for the sake of ourselves and the church, we ought to make an effort to get what we can out of it. For instance, the sermon today was difficult for me to follow. He preached on Philippians 3:7-11 and somehow tied it in to taking communion. It felt disjointed and I never really got the connections that he was trying to tie together. He did, however, have some interesting thoughts on the text, and interesting thoughts on communion. Had I quickly dismissed him, I would have missed the good that was indeed there. I also took some time to read through the text myself when he was telling stories. It ended up being one of the best not-so-good sermon experiences I’ve ever had.
What I said about nobody saying a word to me was true, however, I didn’t give anyone an opportunity to talk to me. I simply wasn’t in the mood, and I had lunch to pickup for my family at home. Realistically, I can only blame that on myself.
So, as I have been encouraging myself, I also encourage you to think about the responsibility that you have when you enter church, and check your criticalness at the door. Put in an effort to mine for what might be valuable in the service.