We've been in an odd season in our church recently. The words "disillusioning", "hopeful", "frustrating" and "confusing" also come to mind. I haven't been able to write about it, which is another oddity because I'm usually able to work through my thoughts better when I write them down.
Every week I feel differently about our future, and today I came to a completely new realization. I'm beginning to wonder if we (speaking generally of Christians) sometimes take church a little too seriously. By church I don't mean faith or God or our relationship with God. I'm talking about our relationships with each other. The first thing Jesus did in ministry was gather a group of friends around him. Would you consider the people in your church to be friends? You may worship with them and pray with them, but...
Do you hang out with them outside of church "meetings"?
Do you go to them for advice?
Do you eat together? laugh together? have fun together? do life together?
When I look at our church and a few others I've been a part of, I wonder if I struggle because it seems like all the fun has been taken out of it. We've created rules about what we should do when we hang out. We've decided that we need to be governed. We've gotten all beaurocratic about it and completely forgotten about the relationship aspect. It's like if I invited you over to my house one night and handed you a list of house rules and a program for the evening and told you to sit in uncomfortable chairs and we all sat around staring at each other and forgot how to talk.
Well, maybe that's an exaggeration. But I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that at one time or another, most people have viewed church as a chore.
So what can we do to put the fun back into church?