I have had the hardest time in figuring out how to start this post, so I'm just going to begin with a warning:
The past three weeks have been p.r.e.t.t.y tough on
my family me, so I really need to pour my heart out!
It all started four years ago … when we moved from Texas to Virginia. You see, we had read that Virginia was a wonderful place to live! It was beautiful … it had all four seasons … it had mountains … it wasn't too humid. For our family – Virginia sounded fantabulous (don't get me wrong – I love it here in VA). However, the one itty bitty detail on Virginia that wasn't mentioned was this:
“If you're a very conservative family whose mostly Anabaptist (with some Baptist and Charismatic sprinkled throughout) good luck finding a church!”
The past four years, my family and I have had the most difficult time in finding a church home – no joke! When we think we've found “the one” we find out one of the following:
:: they don't mind women in leadership
:: we have to be in church every time the doors are open (otherwise we don't love God)
:: the Pastor isn't willing to agree to disagree and slyly asks us to leave the church
:: Daddy can't fulfill God's calling within the church because of something that happened in his past
The current church we're going to – is by no means perfect, but we call it home for now. We love the people – they're genuine. We're able to serve – however we are still limited. The majority of the congregation is willing to agree to disagree – most of the time.
So why are you and your family having such a hard time finding a church?
Honestly … because we have a different perspective on church than what the majority of America has. Because we can't find a church that has Anabaptist / Baptist / somewhat Charismatic beliefs.
You get one extreme or the other :
or … wait for it …
Just the other day, Daddy mentioned a word (that I didn't know existed) :
Churchianity. What exactly is “Churchianity”?
Wiktionary.org defines “Churchianity” as follows:
“Any practices of Christianity that are viewed as placing a larger emphasis on the habits of church life or the institutional traditions of the church than on theology and spiritual teachings; The quality of being too church focused.”
As I continued reading, I found a quote from Charles Jenkins that I fell in love with:
“What is wrong with the world today is that we have too much Churchianity and too little Christianity.”
Churchianity is the problem with “church”! People are so focused on what they can do for the church – that they put their family and God on the back-burner. They make Churchianity their religion – their idol.
Don't get me wrong – I love serving in the church! In fact this past week (July 13-17) I served as the VBS photographer (pictures coming soon). But when it becomes my “life source” – then there's a major problem. Serving shouldn't be my life source – Christ should! I have to be careful not to let serving become my idol!
If my children tell me “the reason we've gone down this path, is because you've neglected your responsibility as a parent” – then I need to prioritize … am I going to continue serving the church or be the mother I need to be?
If I realize that I have a teenager who's struggling in her faith, but can't seem to find the time to talk to her – then maybe I'm spending too much time concerning myself with church.
Why is it we care so much about the traditions within the church, but we don't care about what the church is teaching our family's?
We've heard about a church that's splitting because they didn't want there to be a screen / projector. Seriously?? Let's focus less on the traditions and focus more on important spiritual teachings (you know like modesty, purity, exhorting the younger men, teaching the younger women, etc). Pastors today are so concerned about offending “their” congregation, that they avoid offensive topics – we attend a church with this exact problem.
Don't get me wrong, I love our pastor dearly – he's a wonderful man of God! But when it comes to talking about modesty or preaching modesty … he would much rather pass the responsibility on to someone else.
We knew a pastor who wouldn't let a man go soul winning because the man wasn't a suit and tie. Which if you think about it – when some people see a suit and tie they are automatically turned off (I've seen it happen)! You need to meet people where they're at (using discernment) … you need to be genuine. Do you seriously always wear a suit and tie (typically that's what you wear on Sunday)?? You don't need to be dressed to the nines – but you also need to be dressed in a way that speaks “hey I'm a follower of Jesus!”
Another problem with Churchianity is that in serving, churches limit themselves to their own denominations – Daddy calls this very problem “denominationalism” / denominational prejudice.
If we are all the body of Christ – and the believers are the church, then why do we say :
“Oh honey, we can't fellowship – we don't believe the same!”
“I can't help at that VBS – it's at a Methodist church … I'm Presbyterian!”
“I'm a missionary from the ________ and I'm looking for support! I will only call Baptist churches to see if they will support me!”
If we are all the church, the body of Christ, and children of God – it shouldn't matter what church you go to or what denomination you decide to consider yourself apart of. If your church preaches Jesus as the way to heaven, His mercy / love / grace, and that the law is our school master, then who cares who you fellowship with! Who cares what VBS you help at! Who cares what churches you call for support if you're a missionary!
On the day you stand before God, He isn't going to say :
“Great job! You were supported by this many (pick any denomination) churches! You helped in only (pick any denomination) VBS! You only fellowshipped with (pick any denomination)! You may enter into My Kingdom!”
Instead He'll judge you based on how you lived your life for Him! Who you fellowship with / what churches support you / what VBS you serve in / what church you go to – all that won't matter (much like if you're a good person or not). He's gonna judge you based on the Ten Commandments!
I know this post may make some people mad or better yet:
some people may think I'm a whack job who has gone off the deep end / who's mad at church – that's not the case. I am by no means mad at church – I'm mad / fed up with Churchianity.
The only reason I posted this, was because I want others to know what I believe when it comes to serving in the church / denominationalism / Churchianity / etc.
I pray you all have a wonderful evening!
In HIS grace, Alisha