Friday, December 05, 2008

The Not So Simple Church

I was reading in a book the other day titled "Simple Church" about how complicated we seem to make church. We seem to feel like a church isn't really an attractive one unless we offer programs for every single person we might possibly attract. For the large church, this isn't as big a problem. With a larger staff, programs can be put together to meet those needs. For the small church, this is challenging task. One pastor (or even two) could never do this. Unless there were able bodied lay people willing to pick up the slack, the church would have to simply be resigned to the fact that they could never possibly meet every and all needs - and then feel guilty and bad for seemingly settling.

But then the authors go on to point out that churches can have so many programs and so many events and so many other things that one could fill up their calendars with that they never have time for the other things. For example, if they are so busy with church "stuff," how do they ever get to know their neighbors who might just be unchurched? Or, if they are so busy hanging out with churched folks, how do they ever get to know and develop relationships outside of their comfort zones.

While we can definitely build programs with the best of organizations, perhaps we should stop to think and ponder whether this is what Jesus had in mind. Where two or three are gathered, Christ is. As such, church doesn't have to happen inside four walls. Church doesn't have to exist in a formal environment but can happen over a cup of coffee. In fact, church can happen anyplace and at anytime.

So, this holiday season, don't feel guilty about not filling your calendar with the typical church stuff. Perhaps your family or your neighbor or that stranger needs you more.