The little kids did their thing Sunday night. Showing off their singing voices, their acting skills, and their innate ability to look extreeeeemely cute. When you think about it, it’s kinda weird how many people got their start as singers and musicians by doing this sort of thing in church. Even some of the notorious ones.
Which leads me to wonder about the millions of people and kids who have never been in a church and have so many preconceived notions about what “CHURCH” is about! And so little understanding of the hundreds of little things that church-goers like me take for granted.
I’ve got three kids and at least 50 people I know who would -without complaining- babysit for me in a pinch. If I have a question about working on my car, a legal question, advice on handling this or decorating that, or help moving, packing, painting, building anything… I know where to find it. Church. It easily becomes a huge extended family, complete with the weird uncles and doting grandparents. And every now and then… it’s really nice to have around.
Like the day when my wife had a miscarriage and the flowers and sympathies poured in. Upon returning home, the ladies of the church cooked dinner for us for a week! I can’t begin to explain how much that meant.
Churches do things like that all the time. Our church has a meal ministry, ladies groups, men’s groups, even Sunday School classes that give money to people in need. Just the other day, a class that meets on Sunday gave a fellow member some money to buy his kids Christmas gifts. Was I amazed? No. I was thankful that they would do something like that, but I’m not surprised. That sort of thing happens all the time. It’s a way of life.
Believe it or not, there are democrats and people who will vote for Hilary Clinton in a heartbeat here. We complain occasionally about the style of music we play on Sunday morning, and believe me, you never get rid of those discussions. You change the style and you change the complainers, but you never satisfy everyone. And that’s part of hanging around with human beings. We have different tastes, and we have different levels of patience, and some of us are better at being organized than others. I could go on and on. (on Sunday mornings I do!)
No, a church is a collection of people from all walks of life, from many different backgrounds, who have made a conscious decision to believe in Jesus, make an outward commitment to Christ in baptism, and put others and God, ahead of themselves.
We read and teach Scriptures like this one:
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. -Romans 12:10
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: -Philippians 2:3-5
It’s sad really that so many political leaders and church leaders have shown so much selfishness and hypocrisy over the years, because the picture it gives of the Church is simply not accurate. Honesty is upheld in church. Integrity is preached. Accountibility is practiced. In the midst of personal failures, the church is not only a place of forgiveness and second chances, but also a place that challenges us to leave behind the sin and failures. To strive for something better.
Not everyone does, of course. Not every church-goer really gives themselves to the person of Jesus Christ who can work so many changes and improvements into their lives. Some live off the help, the entertainment and the power the church can give them.
The goals are still the same, however, and none of them include political power or a conspiracy to enslave atheists. Can’t find those goals in the Bible. Those are caricatures produced in the ideological spin of our day. Very few times will you ever find a church who’s purpose in life is to gain anything political. Church is people caring for people, and people sharing the message that Jesus died for your sins, and you can be forgiven and set free if you’ll put your faith in him.
Pretty simple stuff, but then, church isn’t all that complicated.