While our church back in Singapore is having her annual Big Family Day at Fort Canning Park, and I’m missing our church family, I decided to write something about church.
We’ve been visiting different churches over the last few weeks to see how church services are like here, and learn what we can. Mostly we’ve enjoyed our visits. People are always so nice. A few things got my attention though and I’ve been mulling over what church services should be like, and what I’d like to see in a church service and a church family.
Disclaimer first: I’m not referring to any one particular church in my musings below, and no church is perfect. We can only try to love as Christ loves us. I think that’s the number one key to Church.
Imagine reading this as the description to a church:
“Welcome to XXX! We’re so glad you chose to be with us today. You’ll be treated to great music and your kids will have fun in an environment that is safe!”
It’s fictional. But could jolly well be on the welcome card of some churches today.
It could also be the welcome note to a community centre or social club, no?
What is church becoming today? Are we bending over backwards so as to be seeker-friendly and welcoming to visitors? To the extent that God has been left out in how we describe our church?
I hope it won’t be the case. But sadly, I think it’s already happening in churches. God is not just being left out on the welcome note but in the church service itself. Dark environment, loud music, strobe lights, people singing on stage while everyone else watches and listens. Where’s the worship of the One True God?
Usually the messages are good and encouraging. The preachers are good communicators. As long as they are preaching the Word, I’ve no doubt it will effect change in the listeners – at least those whose hearts are willing to be transformed by the Word. Yet we also know many preachers have distorted the Truth and are preaching cheap grace instead of true grace, promising prosperity and an easy life instead of talking about knowing Christ and His sufferings through carrying our own crosses.
And where’s the Holy Spirit in the church today? Even as we are wary about the stream that practices and endorces weird spiritual experiences, I hope we do not quench the move of the Holy Spirit in healing and touching lives. It’s human nature to take things to an extreme, I guess. I’ve been so blessed throughout my life by people who ministered in the gifts of the Spirit, and in encountering God myself through a relationship with Him. It’s sad to know there are many in the church who may not have encountered God in that way.
So, all of us Christians have much to do. The fields are white but the labourers are few. We need to reach out and love those who do not know God, and disciple them in a loving and truthful environment – in a community known as the Church. May God give us the grace and wisdom to do that where we are.
(I’m thinking about writing a blog series on what I think are important in a church and back them up with biblical references. Let me know if you are interested in this topic. And let me know what YOU think is important in a church! By commenting below or on my Facebook. 🙂 )