Sunday, June 11, 2006

Along with a major move come a few standard questions that people feel entitled to ask to get the ball rolling in conversation:
Where did you move from? Why are you moving here? How do you like it so far?

Then come the more situational specific questions, for instance, when I run into a Christian or when I'm visiting a church:
What's your church history? or What was your last church like?
And then my favorite question: What are you looking for in a church?

This question makes me feel as though I have just stepped into conversation with a real estate agent: Well, you see I'm buying my first home, so I'd like something affordable. A place in a good neighborhood with lots of families, good schools close by. I'd like a big backyard, someplace I can really relax. It has to be at least three bedrooms and two baths. Oh, and I'd really like a white picket fence out front.

Or maybe that I'm standing in the buffet line: Yes, the fried chicken, no I don't want that. Could I have some of that please. Mash potatoes, yes. No, not white, brown gravy. Of course I'd like pie, let's see, I believe peach this time around.

When did the body coming together in worship become a smorgasbord of choice and pleasure? What I'm looking for in a church is as simple as this: a body that loves God and loves people. I don't think it needs to be any more complicated than that.

The buffet line. I can't help but wondering what out of this glorious buffet Jesus would choose. Would He seek out the best worship style, the most dynamic preacher, the friendliest greeters? The most comfortable pews? The most weekly activities? No, I don't think so. I don't think those things are really all that important to Him. We still lack the understanding of what "I desire mercy, not sacrifice" really means. Could it be that all of the choices out there are simply a distraction from what really matters: Jesus?


Leslie Hutchins said...

You hit the nail on the head. I have never looked at it that way. Thanks for the great insight, I totally agree.

Adam Wolfgang said...

I don't think Jesus would choose a church at all. He would start a new one. I hear that ringing in my head as we look for a new church family. I feel your pain.

ewall said...

I'm so thankful for friendship with you, for the way that the Lord has used you and uses you to encourage me to know more about Jesus. I'm praying for you, and praying that the Lord will provide a family for you there that longs for Jesus. love you man--

Adam Wolfgang said...

"man?" "who you talkin about wallace?"

Amanda Peterson said...

Thanks for the props, Em. And back off Adam! Like you never say anything that raises eyebrows. (You know I love you, but I must support my homie.)

Amber G. Lehmann said...

i wonder what would happen if i 'went' to a church where i found absolutely nothing that 'met my needs.' i fear that jesus would probably still be there and with a whole lot to say. hmmmm

Allan White said...

Some of what you're saying connects with some of the shock that missionaries feel when they return home: too many choices. Americans have so many choices - where to eat, where to work, what to drive, ad nauseam. Because there are so many churches along the whole spectrum of practice & form, Americans can pick one that suits their fancy.

I think this can lead to laziness. Don't like it? Shop around. We shop around for everything else, why not churches? I could see how it would make it harder to stay put and make things work. Kinda like being married, I guess.

I'm not saying choices are bad, I'm just sayin'. =)