And I must admit I had a lot of mixed feelings about what went on.
It was a small gathering so the drum set was annoying and headache producing as there just wasn’t enough people or sound absorbing material to curtail its echo effect. I do not mind different musical instruments in a worship service but just because we can have them doesn’t necessarily mean the environment is right for them all to be used all the time or even twice. Sometimes prudent thought should take over for permissive thinking.
This leads me to the ‘worship team’ that was on stage. I have never been a fan of ‘worship teams’ as the unchristian feelings that can arise from elevating certain members over other equally qualified attendees. I also do not like them because there is no real leading or leadership and either the praise becomes repetitive, mindless, or it goes nowhere because there is no one leading the people into the presence of God.
This particular church has, along with the drummer, a guitarist, pianist and two singers, which basically made up about 1/5th of the total membership (maybe 1/4 of it) so again, just because you can have a worship team doesn’t mean you should. There was no real leadership to this team either so the singing was disjointed, not very worshipful and when the drummer decided to exercise his talents a little loudly we couldn’t hear anything but the drums. It was a sad experience when it should have been more worshipful, more joyful, more refreshing. We were not led into the presence of God and allowed to view him for whom he is but given a more of a disrespectful visit to his throne.
The prayer was given by a girl who read it off her smart phone. I understand people being nervous and not wanting to look stupid in front of everyone so I wasn’t bothered by this as much as the worship time. Maybe I view prayer differently than others but every prayer in that service made me shudder but then given the lack of members maybe they only had very immature Christians in the flock; so again it would be understandable for the quality of the prayers.
The preacher or pastor of the church had a PHD, it was put in the bulletin, yet his sermon seemed to lack anything of God or God was overwhelmed by the pet doctrines, the personal ideas, the secular ideology that also vied for time in the sermon. Maybe it is just me but I would like to see a pastor put more of God into the sermon and nothing of the other elements.
How sad it is that the people are there needing to be fed and all they get is junk food. I think that this church and many others around the world are being robbed of what God wants them to have. There is too much disrespect for God in these services that it is no wonder the church is ineffective and so little real teaching that it is no wonder unbelievers scoff and ridicule Christians. They are not taught anything valuable or true.
It is just sad. The topic today was the love of God and the pastor used the verse, love each other as I have loved you’ yet never explained how Jesus loved the church except to mention another verse, 1 John 3:16 but that isn’t the only aspect of the word ‘love’. The people were robbed of learning the true meaning of the word. This method, I suspect, is present in many churches also around the world. We give too much time to secular ideology, pet doctrines that we do not have enough time to fully explain the topic and how it applies to our lives.
We are robbed of growth and knowledge thereby making people ineffective as disciples of Christ. We leave them vulnerable for evil to pick off and ruin and I just cannot bring myself to accept that it happens in one church let alone the many around the world. We are not being good stewards for God if we treat his people in such a haphazard manner and sorry, but if one says, that is what small groups or Sunday School is for then why have a worship service? Certainly worship is not being done at that time either and not everyone has time for Sunday School or small groups.
The main service should be both worship and vital teaching. We should not be following a secular business strategy when it comes to church thus the pastor should not be delegating his teaching duties to others but makes sure he is preaching what God wants when everyone is together. To me I think the church, its leaders and staff are, for the most part, failing God and their people.They are also failing the world because they are not willing to get the Christian faith right.
Keep in mind that I said, ‘for the most part’, because not every Christian or pastor or church leader is failing but working extra hard to make sure that they get it right. They are over-worked and tired and could use some reinforcements so that they can replenish their strength in order to take up the fight once again.
One note, I walked out of that church in a huff because they came to me at the start telling me that they acknowledge newcomers and asked if I wanted to wave etc. I said I did not want to be acknowledged in any way, just leave me alone but I should have known they would ignore my request. I am not sure I will go back there or not as I find that the idea of Christian freedom only applies one way and does not respect the freedom others have in Christ which may not line up with a particular congregation’s idea.
Christian freedom does not mean we are free from rules or that we have permission to invade or cross the boundaries other believers have set for their lives. I think women experience this invasion far more than men do and it is not fair to them to make them suffer unwanted hugs, touches and comments, and so on, from men who are supposed to be godly men. This does not exclude those women members who do certain things to others as well and who are supposed to be godly women.
Respecting others and how they feel is important in the church if we want to retain members and make an impact for Christ. Of course, there is a limit on this respect as we do not allow for sin to enter the church but I think you know what I mean.