Sometimes I struggle with the differences between Jesus' ministry and church ministry today. I'm curious as Christians, aren't we supposed to be Christ-followers to mimic our Savior in every way possible. And Church is the body of Christ, so our rule book should be first and foremost the ministry of Christ? I think we have long been putting on twist on Church and Christianity. This is not the first generation in fact it has likely been going on since the beginning of the Church. We like to adapt things to us, to our comfort, to our needs. We want to be fulfilled and enjoy the church experience.
One of my favorite things about Jesus’ ministry was that he focused on twelve. Jesus spoke to the masses but he had twelve disciples whom He taught, served, worked alongside, broke bread with, traveled with etc. He poured himself and His love into only twelve. Jesus could have ministered to thousands every single day but He saw the value in close relationships. I think our pastors need to remind themselves of this sometimes, Jesus did speak to crowds and ministry to the masses but the majority of His energy was spent building into only twelve. This is one of the reasons why I struggle when people get lost in the crowd of big churches, in fact people get lost in the crowd of small churches too. We need to remember as the body that it is not the pastors’ job to minister to all of us, he has his twelve. This is where it is our responsibility to step up as the body of Christ and reach out to those in our churches and in our community.
What about how Jesus reached out, or how He held services. Never once did Jesus ask us to change anything about ourselves to come to Him. He meets us wherever we are. Where in the Bible does it say that worship is only through song and in Church we follow that with corporate prayers and then teaching? The bible doesn’t have a play by play of what Church should look like but we are able to look at how Jesus ministered. Are we ministering to people as He did? Are we reaching out the way He did? Many people struggle with conventional ways of “worship” the church was always put an emphasis on song, but what about those who don’t like singing at all. I love worshiping the Lord through song and it is the highlight of Church for me on many occasions but I am one person and God created us all so differently. He didn’t create one carbon copy of what a Christian should look like. Yet He created us all in His image, which means we are meant to be this way. He didn’t make mistakes. So those who worship better alone outside with just their Bible, or in a fishing boat with a good friend, or watching a sunset, or in a long drive through the Rockies, or riding a horse. They were created to worship this way and there is nothing wrong with that. God wants songs but He also wants our lives and I think those who can truly worship in everything they do have caught on to what God intends for our lives.
So as a Church how do we cater to all these needs? First, we must acknowledge that it is okay for people to worship and learn in all different ways. This is how God created them and it is prideful for us to say that ‘our’ way is better or how God intended it. Second, what can we learn for Jesus? Jesus went unto the crowds, He walked with them, He talked with them, Jesus wasn’t afraid of getting His hands dirty. Jesus didn’t stand at the front of the synagogue and ask His followers to sing their praises to Him. Jesus was much more practical. He saw their need to learn so He taught. He saw they were blind, so He gave them sight. He saw they were hungry, so He fed them. Jesus met them exactly where they were and then addressed their most obvious needs. Is it meeting people where they are to expect them to come into our churches and worship and learn exactly as we do? No, it is our responsibility to go out and meet them exactly where they are. And our focus must not be to get them into our churches; our focus must be first and foremost showing them God’s love.
To wrap this entire blog post up I want to quickly share why I’m so excited about the direction and vision my Church is heading in. We are attempting to acknowledge that people learn and worship differently by creating as many different “worship environments” as the Lord allows. Currently there is a contemporary and a traditional, and in fall we are beginning and liturgical service. I’m excited to see where this all heads as a Church we acknowledge and support that we are all created different and that is exciting and what makes us the “body” of Christ. We aren’t all created the same and it’s about meeting people where they are, the way they worship and learn and ministering to them in that place. Not expecting people to be like us or to be at a certain place in their faith to participate in Church. Because let us all remember “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us...” No expectations to be a certain person, right where we were, He met us and gave His life for us. What a great God we serve!