Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Church: Community or Business?

One of the major questions I have at this time is, 'Should the Church be conducted as a business or as a community?' I am not sure if there is a right or wrong answer to this question, but I have noticed that when I go to church, sometimes it feels no different than going to work. Here's what I mean:

-When you get to the service, you are handed the weekly agenda as well as, what we hope to accomplish in todays services. With that we get the weekly budget updates, and a list of meetings that will be taking place during the week. We call this the bulletin.
-The service has already been organized to the 'T'. We know that we will sing this many songs, pray at these specific times, and the message will last no longer than 30 minutes, and at the end we will be asked to respond. All I must not forget, halfway through the service we are then asked to give money.
-At the end of the service, we are given a list of 'service opportunities' that we can get involved in. These are 'ministries', that seem to be focused on current churchgoers or visitors. You are not told you have to get involved, but it is insinuated that it would be non-Christian of you not to do so.
-After the service, we then go either teach a SS class, work in the nursery, help in aftercare (because the kids need to be separate from the parents, just in case they would disrupt the flow of the scheduled events), or you go and take part in SS or simply go home.
-Throughout the week, there are many things taking place 'at the church' for church members. There's always some kind of service opportunity going on.

You get the gist. Let me point this out at this time, I am not against any of these things, well not totally, I am more concerned about the why. What is the motivation? Why do we work so hard during the week at work, and then feel compelled to work so hard at the church? It would seem that eventually everyone would suffer some sort of burnout, right?

As I read through Scripture and look at the early church, I find it hard to believe that today's structure of the church is really what Peter, and the other founders of the church had in mind. Pastors don't know half the congregations, they are so busy working on the next program or series, that they miss out on the blessings happening all around them. I just feel like we need to take a step back and decide if Jesus and the Church is a marketable product, or is it a way of life meant to be lived among all people?

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