Why Do We Do Church the Way We Do?

cathedral-3599450_1920Have we ever stopped to ask ourselves this question?  Or, is this something where we simply do what has always been done, because we grew up this way, and it is familiar to us?  So much of our life is spent this way, continuing to go through the motions because, “we have always done it that way.”  There are many aspects of church, as we know it, that we should take the time to question why we do it that way.

Church Building?

 Why did we decide we needed to go to a church “building” to worship God?  Not that going to a church building is necessarily bad, but some people think you are wrong if you don’t go to “church.”  Would God think it is wrong not to go to a church building?  With this in mind, let’s answer one question.

Is it more holy to worship God inside a designated building, than in a home, or outside of a building?  Of course, the answer is that God does not change, it is not the place that makes God holy, it is God that makes the place holy, and God is everywhere.  When we understand this, we can then understand, when it comes to God, it does not make a difference where we worship God.

Churches can spend millions of dollars on building campaigns to build, remodel and refurbish churches.  Is this really what God wants from us?  Are we doing this for God, or to compete with other churches?  When we really check our motives, are we doing this for God, or are we doing this for people?  We can check our motives by looking at the following scripture.

1 Samuel 16:7 – But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him.  The Lord does not look at the things people look at.  People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

People are the ones who care what the outside of things look like.  God cares about what is going on in the inside.  When you couple this with the following scripture, we get an even clearer picture of what God thinks of fancy.

Luke 2:6-7 – While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.  She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

I think God is giving us a clear message that fancy on the outside means nothing to God.  In fact, from what we have looked at, plain and ordinary on the outside, coupled with deep and meaningful on the inside, is more of God’s speed.

More Social or More God?

 There is nothing wrong with being social, in fact God wired us to be in relationship with other people.  However, we don’t have to go to church to have a social relationship with other people, and I think we can safely say, with God, the more the merrier doesn’t apply.

Matthew 18:20 – For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.

Of course, we know it is ever better than this because wherever we are, God is there with us.  Not that there is anything wrong with worshiping God together, but we certainly do not need to be with other people to worship God.  So, again, we need to be honest about our motives.  Is church more social, or more God?

Do We Need to Be Taught, and Taught, and Taught?

 We have access to the same book from which we gather to be taught.  So, why do we rely on someone else to teach us what we should already have let God teach us?

Hebrews 5:12-14 – In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again.  You need milk, not solid food!  Anyone who lives on milk, being an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Who Is It That Actually Teaches Us?

Too often, we take our focus off of God and put it on human beings.  We give humans credit, when it has been God all along.

1 Corinthians 3:4-7 – For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?  What, after all, is Apollos?  And what is Paul?  Only servants, through whom you came to believe – as the Lord assigned each to his task.  I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.  So neither the one who plants, nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

We all understand that we have the same access to God that anyone else has.  When we put this into practice, we will understand that God is our teacher.  If we need a push to understand this, all we need to do is think about all the church scandals, both seen and unseen, that happen time after time.  Those who have been teaching us about God have been doing the very things God would not want them to do.

Not that all of us are not susceptible to this, because we are.  But, the very people we are trusting to teach us about God, are doing the very things, either physically or mentally, they are teaching us not to do.  The point being, instead of being taught by a mere human, such as ourselves, we should seek out God to teach us.  When you look at it this way, it makes you wonder why we don’t do this anyway.  Could it be because it requires more work on our part?

Relationship with God Is Hard Work

 This should not be surprising to us at all.  One of the things God has given us to have insight about our relationship with God, is our relationship with other people.  Good relationships are one of the most difficult things we will ever deal with.  Take our relationship with our mate.  This requires listening with our ears, listening with our eyes, learning from experience in prior situations, observing them with other people and in various situations, trying to put ourselves in a position to understand something outside of ourselves, and all the time trying not to be selfish with our desires, but to consider their needs above ours.  This is probably why so many relationships just end up existing with each other, because that is easier than the hard work needed for a good relationship.

So, do we end up just going through the motions with God?  Is it too hard so that we rely on someone else to tell us their version of God, or we end up just existing together, instead of putting the work in to have a good relationship?  Just like with your mate, a good relationship with God will require listening with our mind, listening with our ears, listening with our eyes, learning from prior experience in various situations, trying to put ourselves in a position to understand something outside of ourselves, and all the time trying not to be selfish with our desires, but consider God above ourselves.  This will go well past what we read in a book.  It will include what we see in creation, what we see in nature, what we see in the universe, and what we see in life that God has given.

Let’s give thought to why we do what we do and give the God the rightful place in our life, that God deserves.


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