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Final thoughts on canceling church

My post last Sunday about megachurches (and their copycat little brothers) canceling services the day after Christmas generated a massive response. Apparently, there were a lot of people who also felt it was a smidge ridiculous that in America we found an excuse to take a Sunday off while those in other parts of the world risk their lives to worship Jesus publicly on any day. And a good amount of people, especially those who commented, thought the connection between the persecuted church and canceling services was unfair.

That’s OK. I’m a big boy and can handle people disagreeing with me.

There were several spin-off posts generated which I’d like to call your attention to as they are worth reading:

I learned three things from the post and its fallout.

  1. In general, American Christians don’t feel much of a kinship to non-American Christians. At least the majority of blog commenters would not put kinship above their individual churches rights to meet or not meet.
  2. Few people latched onto a central concept in the post that the church is our real family. I consider my community group part of my family, I’m left to assume that this family-feeling is not all that common. How can that be so?
  3. The priesthood of the staff is so deeply engrained that it was nearly 30 comments before someone brought up that churches canceling services could have just managed their resources/staff differently by empowering more lay people and depending on the staff less.

In the end, the post did more than I could have hoped for. Rather than simply getting a pile of people to agree with me or disagree with me… it seems as though the post generated the exact discussion I had hoped for. And getting church leaders to critically think about their ministry is about all I could ever ask.

By Adam McLane

Kristen and Adam live in the San Diego neighborhood of Rolando with their three children.

8 replies on “Final thoughts on canceling church”

Regarding #2, I almost commented to that effect when I read the post. I don’t think many people feel that their church – or any subsection thereof – is family. For a lot of people, going to church is more a chore than anything. There is very little community and this hurts us. I think there are 2 main reasons why we (used in a very general sense) don’t experience deep community. 1) We feel that we have to pretend to be perfect at church; this facade kills real relationships. 2) The consumer mentality means we don’t engage in mission together, which leaves us deprived of opportunity to build relationships.

“I don’t think many people feel that their church – or any subsection thereof – is family.”

What a sad statement. Not to be too personal with you, but if you don’t have that where you are at… I would think EVERYTHING must stop until you make it happen.

You’ve spurred on something I need to think/write more about. Thanks.

It is also tragic that many who stop going to a particular church (or any church at all) is because they “don’t feel something.”

While it is often a nice byproduct of a relationship with God, emotional responses are not the point of belonging to the Body of Christ. Our emotions are tied directly to our specific perceptions. Our perceptions can be flawed. Often they are.

The truth lies solely in God. We go to church and sing and worship for God. We do what God asks. All love and relationships spring from God. Hopefully we are not too broken to realize that before we die.

#2 – this has to do with one of the most atrophied parts of the broken human condition = relationships.

Real relationships are never “easy”, nor are they “convenient”. And in an American society that relishes what is easy and convenient, we have learned quickly to turn relationships into garbage that we can recycle or dispose of at will. Anyone who challenges us can and will also be disposed of.

It’s a tragic contradiction that as human beings we instinctively gravitate towards relationships – and at the same time build up walls, gossip, reject each other, put on masks, and keep people at arms length. This struggle defines humanity since the Fall, and plagues the Church as long as christians fail to truly embrace the meaning of the Body of Christ. On that note – I recall the words of the Apostle Paul who said (regarding Communion) that some among us grow sick and die, not discerning the Body of Christ. For years that verse was used to define an inward spot-check: i.e. “I had better repent before I eat this cracker, or I might die.” I propose that Paul here was talking about our inter-personal relationships among the body of believers.

The currency of the Kingdom of Heaven always has been and always will be relationships. Remember, we were created in the image of Almighty God – who IS an eternal Relationship (Father/Son/Holy Spirit). May God help us believers to live this truth.

This was the major point of the book I just finished reading, “The Shack.” Love is all about relationship.

“In general, American Christians don’t feel much of a kinship to non-American Christians.”

Let’s be real here — Americans in general do not feel much kinship to the rest of the world. Most Americans are arrogant and self-centered. It is a natural response to being the wealthiest nation in the world. The consensus seems to be that “we’re better than everybody else.”

Which is why I pray that as a nation, as all of humanity, that we return to the right relationship with God

Jesus said it best, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

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