I believe in Christian community. I believe in a body of people who come together regularly and know one another and share with one another. I believe in bringing our questions, our failures, our successes, and even our perspectives that don’t fit the grid of a traditional Christian and throwing it out there and working through all of it together.
We are in a sermon series that explores the model of Worship, Care, Serve as somewhat of a tagline that lets people know who we are as a church. It occurs to me that if we are truly doing any one of these then the other two will be in practice as well. If our worship is truly God focused, Christ centered adoration that changes us then we will be caring for others. If we are genuinely caring for others we will be serving. How can we genuinely care and not serve? Serving is just an outgrowth of sincerely caring and a byproduct of seeing Christ through the lens of a worshipping heart.
I have paid people to do my yard work weekly, train me at the gym, clean my house, wash my car, counsel me, consult with me, do my taxes, cut my hair, and even pick out my clothes for special events a couple of times.
I order food online, books that download directly to my cool electronic devices, buy music that I store in a “cloud” and have even been known to use valet parking at the mall on those rare occasions that I still shop retail.
I’m not unique in this lifestyle. The people in my worshipping community live similarly or better. I’m not saying that any of this is bad. It is the fruit of progress in a world that has changed more in the last one hundred years than all of history combined when it comes to technology.
Where the wheels begin to wobble in this cultural paradigm is when we bring these lifestyle expectations into the church. We end up waiting on people to serve us instead of seeking opportunities to serve others. We wonder why our paid staff can’t handle all the hurting and needy people in our midst. After all, that is their job, right? We pay them to do that.
We want to come and drink the coffee, experience some form of worship that is supposed to happen to us, and hear a message that is going to challenge us in ways that we never considered before because we have essentially paid people to do all of these things.
I wonder if the reason that so many of us have such empty experiences in the church is because we aren’t investing ourselves. When we view the church as a place where we go and get an experience on Sunday it will never be enough. When the church is a place where others do the heavy lifting so I can float in and out it will never be community to me.
We will experience the church as she is meant to be when we are willing to invest ourselves beyond our experiential expectations and consumerism.
When we worship, care and serve we are truly living in Christian community but not if one is without the other two.