Here's a challenging question: Does a person experience growth in spiritual life by going to church more often? Or is there more to it than that? Have you ever gone to a church service and felt that something was missing? Be honest...
If we're being honest, our Easter Sunday included a trip to Krispy Kreme--for the bunny doughnuts, of course! While there, we encountered a family that obviously just left church. They were not interested in engaging with us when we acknowledged them with a hello or a smile. One of them bumped into Henry's chair more than once without even a glance. Sadly, it seemed their Sunday morning church experience left them more exhausted than inspired.
We've been told we need to do more, to attend more often, to give more. We forget that Jesus directly challenged the religious leaders in his day. They were the ones who participated in religious services and activities in abundance. Here was Jesus's impression of them: "Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! On the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness" (Matthew 23:26, 28).
Apparently, Jesus did not think these leaders' religious activities were helping them to grow spiritually at all. Unfortunately, all of us have seen religious leaders within the church at large living hypocritical and wicked lives. Doesn't this fact reinforce that church activity does not in itself bring about the spiritual life that Jesus came to give us? Maybe that's why we sometimes feel that we didn't "get anything" out of church.
So here's an idea, instead of "going to church" this week, do something unconventional. Spend some time in prayer, then go out and "be the church" to someone in your life. This could be simply spending time with someone you know and love over coffee or brunch. Or helping a neighbor in need. Or engaging your family in an intentional conversation about God... Here are a few conversation starters if you need some ideas.
The fact is that you, being the church right where God has placed you, can bless someone else and help them better understand God's love for them.
Sometimes getting out of our routine --and getting doughuts? --is all it takes to help shift our perspective on our spiritual lives
Have a great week!
Todd & Meredith
P.S.: Need a few conversation starters for your church away from "church"? Click here for a few ideas! Continue in your kindness experiment.