Wednesday, February 21, 2007
I used to attend a church of around 600 people in attendance on Sundays. During a leadership transition period, there was a fairly sizable exodus from this church to another larger church in town. Many of these people I know personally. Not one of them describe their feelings for the new place with words like, “I love it!” Instead, I hear statements like, “The preaching is good,” or “We really like the children’s program.” Or worst of all, “Yea, my wife likes it OK.” One guy I know who made the switch told me one Sunday he saw a friend from the previous church during the break between services. In the sea of people that resembles a cattle drive, he said to him in a loud voice over the drone of noise, “Oh, you’re coming here now, too? Isn’t this great? To leave a place where you don’t know anybody and come to a bigger place where you don’t know anybody?” The new guy didn’t catch his sarcasm right away. When will men get the idea that they don’t have to settle for that? Sunday morning stress and anxiety of getting up, getting the kids ready, trying to hold it all together on the way there, working your way like a salmon through the stream of people to get to the right place. The original memo of Sunday being a day of rest is must have gotten placed in the round file. Since leaving that world, my Sundays are much simpler now, much more relaxed, much more oriented around my family. My wife and I reconnect, drink rich, dark coffee, read the paper, have some time with our kids to talk about spiritual things and learn Scripture together. It really is a day of rest for us. The day I used to dread leading up during the week is now my favorite, as I think was its original intent. The Church of the Future will be gathered in smaller contexts simply because men will realize they can. Once they get over the fear that they are sinning or doing something wrong, they will find that doing so will lead to a more fruitful, enjoyable experience. All I needed was permission but I looked for it in the wrong place for the longest time; to the Church As We Know It. Of course it wasn’t going to give it to me. But I found one Source of Permission, and once I discovered it, I see it was there all along.