Guest Post by Andrea Lucado
I sat in a church I’d never been to on Sunday. It was different from the churches I typically attend for a few reasons. It was much smaller. It didn’t start on time. It was a different denomination. And the big one, the demographic, as far as social class and age, varied greatly, and I wasn’t in the majority.
I was there with a friend who sat by me and explained that this church happens 24/7. Sure, they have a Sunday service, he said, but Sunday service is a very small part of this church. It’s not the central event like it is for most churches. Here, people minister to the homeless every day. Their lives reflect Jesus in their interactions with people from all neighborhoods and backgrounds. They worship God outside the church building maybe more than they worship Him inside of it. And all of this made me uncomfortable. It convicted me. I held back tears during the service because of what I realized I’ve let church become for me: a place that makes me feel good.
I like churches with amazing worship bands – they make me feel good. I like churches where my friends go – they make me feel good. I like church to be entertaining and the sermon to be engaging – this makes me feel good. I had to stop and ask myself this past Sunday, since when was the church about making me feel good?
I asked a few more hard questions after this like, what if all churches looked this way? What if they were a little smaller and didn’t start on time and only had three people in the band but on nights, weekends and weekdays the congregants scoured the streets of their cities and served people who haven’t seen kindness or felt grace in their entire lives? What if the Sunday morning service was ok, but the Monday through Saturday service was life-changing? What if the center of the church was Christ and on the edges was the worship band and the order of events on Sundays?
Do I worship Jesus, or do I worship my worship experience?
They’re tough questions, but they’re important. This Sunday’s church had the least in attendance, wealth and refinement that I’ve been to in months, but it was one of the richest and deepest services I’ve been a part of, and I felt Jesus’ presence all in it and through it. I know he was there, and I know he was pleased with his people.