Fantasy Church

28 02 2008

       As I was driving home from the grocery store today, I was thinking about what kind of church I would create (were I creating a church.)  Now, y’all know I haven’t been called to preach.  So you have to take this as a fantasy and not get all riled up over it.

First of all, there wouldn’t be any lecturing at my church.  I don’t understand why pastors feel they have to fuss at people so much.  If the person isn’t guilty of whatever the lecture’s about, they feel smug and self-righteous.  If they are guilty, they feel condemned and like the church doesn’t want them.  And if they’re nervous they just sit there getting paranoid.

Furthermore, I don’t understand why the pastors feel like they can fuss at their congregations at all.  These sweet people already got up on Sunday morning, got dressed, and voluntarily came to worship because A) they love Christ or B) they’re looking for Him, and why do you want to yell and lecture at them like they’re recalcitrant five-year-olds who won’t pick up their toys?  (recalcitrant means “deliberately stubborn.”)

I  think most people do wrong because they don’t know any better or they can’t help it.  The kind that do wrong on purpose and because they enjoy it generally aren’t sitting in church.  So what people need isn’t a good chewing out, what they need is education, encouragement and healing.

My church will have kind of loose worship.  If people aren’t  having convulsions, yelling and screaming, or crashing into people, I’d let them be.  Let them wander around.  Let them dance.  Let them sit down.  Heck, let them lie down!  I know there have been times in my life where I sincerely longed for a safe place to take a nap.  Also, I think that worship leaders are sometimes over worked.  I love live music, but it’s not worth running people ragged over.  We can worship to recorded music, too!  I do it at home all the time.  So when the worship team is tired, or when their voice wears out, or when they need a week off, let the poor people sit down!  We’ll play a tape.  Especially good for instrumental background during prayer.

Speaking of prayer…. this “pre-service prayer” stuff is for the birds.  Prayer at my church would be PART of the service.   Instead of getting up and shaking hands with our neighbors, we’ll take 20 or 30 minutes and pray with our neighbors.  I heard a quote once, “Everyone on earth is trying to swallow something that won’t quite go down.”  Everyone on earth has troubles.  Everyone has something they need prayed over.   My church would have classes on prayer, instruction and mentoring in prayer, and I’d do my best to make sure that everyone knew how to love somebody by praying for them in person.  I’d have section leaders or monitors walking around to make sure that no one was being lectured instead of prayed for, or having oil thrown on them or something, and we’d all take some time to lift each other up.  I bet as the weeks passed, we’d all get to know each other better than just by shaking hands!  And if someone developed a conflict with someone in their area, they could move to another part of the church.

I think it would be a great idea to let more than just the pastor teach from the pulpit.  I loved the Joni Ames conference I went to.  She had her “10 minute speakers.”  People that had something to say, something to share, but weren’t ready to really preach could get up and teach for 10 minutes.  It was great.  And somehow she made sure that they were all very encouraging.  They didn’t lecture, fuss, holler, or point fingers.  They taught.  They tried to tell us something we didn’t KNOW, instead of acting like they were convincing us to do something we wouldn’t DO.  Which was nice.

My church would focus on personal ministry in addition to things like evangelism and service.  I am LOVING this Elijah House stuff.  I wish I wish I wish that I could be the kind of prayer counselor they’re training.  But who in this town would let me do it?  Sigh.     I have to think that if only people could get their own emotional and spiritual needs met that evangelism and service would flow out naturally.  I think too often we get the process reversed.  We try to serve, serve, serve, witness, witness, witness, and the spring’s so clogged the water won’t flow.  I guess I believe in “trickle-down ministry.”  Spiritual healing, healing the heart so it can touch the Lord, is more important than almost anything else.  What else are churches here for?

An important part of spiritual healing is knowing and using the bible.  And that would be what I would want as the major point for sermons.  Gently and patiently teaching what the bible’s instructions for life are and explaining how (IF people wanted to- no lecturing!) they might be put into practice and what kind of results might be expected if you did.  It is not the job of the pastor to convince, manipulate, coerce, browbeat, threaten, bribe, cajole, or promise people into obeying the bible.  God is gracious enough to treat us like adults and give us a choice.  Why can’t preachers?

So there would be my church- one third worship, one third prayer (including prophetic words and words of knowledge & that kind of stuff), and one third teaching.   Not to say that the time would break down that way every service, but that general idea.  What do you think?  What would you add or subtract to make it your fantasy church?




One response

29 02 2008

I would most definitely attend your fantasy church.

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