Thursday, July 1, 2010

Home Improvement

A church near us has a sign that reads, "For home improvement, bring the family to church." When I first saw the sign, a number of thoughts ran through my mind. I was able to catch some of them before they ran away.

The first thought was how much I have come to disagree with the idea of "going to church." It may a bit nit-picky, but I believe that the modern mindset that church is somewhere we go or an event we attend is a large part of the problem with evangelicalism. When "church" is a place or an event, then it becomes just a part of our lives, much like a club or other organization. We attend church, like we attend a play or a concert, and many times the result is the same. We invite people to events at church, hoping that they will like what they see enough to come back. This mindset can also bring about a spirit of competition between congregations. The dirty secret among many churches is that much "church growth" comes from folks moving from one church to another.

Another thought is that the sign reveals a mindset that "church" is the source of all the answers. If you just bring your family to church, everything will be fine. Along with this comes the moaning about all the kids who grow up in church and leave as soon as they get away home. Does anyone else see the contradiction? If taking your family to church was as effective as the sign seems to suggest, young people would be staying in church. A few years ago I heard a pastor of a prominent mega-church state that the hope of the world is the local church. This is the same view that the organization called church is what the world needs. The church is the "pillar and ground of the truth," but that truth is Christ. It is only when the church is wrapped up in Christ that it can provide any hope.

The third thought that came to mind is that the key to home improvement is found in Ephesians 5:25, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her..." What would our homes be like if husbands actually began doing that?

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