What does “church” mean to you? For me, church was often a building I went to on Sunday. We had lessons and songs and caught up with friends and created a wonderful little community with opportunities to serve. This is still a meaningful part of my faith, but now is not a very big part of how I do “church” in my day to day life!
Because church also had politics. Gossip. Dreary routine. It had the person who no one would talk to – and all the people ignoring them. The elder who cared more about budget numbers than the people the budget helped. The preacher who persecuted anyone who tried to rise up and lead. It had the misspent money, the MTV-like worship show, the brand name high-tech “look at what we turned your money into”. I’m sure you have your own list, and this is hardly a tenth of mine.
Church gets complicated fast. My sister once told me, “The church would be great if there weren’t any people in it.” On one hand, she was exactly right – we are what makes it messy, and none of us are perfect. Yet, “church” is just us. It’s people getting together in Jesus’ name. That’s all. Whether in a church building, a living room or a catacomb. Whether two or twenty or two thousand. Whether there’s a paid pastor, someone who can lead worship, or just two friends with no ministry credentials. So, WHY does church get complicated fast? Shouldn’t it be simpler? Couldn’t it be simpler?
Of course it could. Church is holy community and you can create holy community exactly where you are, and in the midst of whatever you’re already doing. This is the starting point – realizing that we can be part of church wherever we are. Church was an attitude and an expression and a community long before it was buildings. Christians met in small groups for the first three centuries of Christianity. Meeting in buildings, having paid pastors, having an order of worship and youth programs and financial campaigns and so on are late additions to the faith, not the core or even the founding of the faith itself.
We hope a lot of Millennials can get excited about this. The thing you call church, the thing you don’t like, the thing you left years ago: that isn’t the sum total of church. That’s just one highly marketed expression of what Jesus came to create. So we hope you can get excited about this blog. We’ll share a lot of Scripture, especially ones frequently taken out of context. We’ll share our own experience of “church” – especially the flaws that created the sense of righteous indignation prominent among Millennials. And especially the strengths that we’ve found in doing church more simply. We also hope to hear from other Millennials, because we are the voice of the church-to-come. We’ll discuss values that Christ had which we should cultivate and share, as well as challenge some values that American Christianity props up that aren’t actually biblical – or even healthy. Thanks for joining the journey.
For further reading, check out:
So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore by Jake Colsen – free pdf available at: http://www.jakecolsen.com/JakeStory.pdf
An excerpt: “Most of what we call ‘church’ today are nothing more than well-planned performances with little actual connection between believers. Believers are encouraged toward a growing dependency on the system or its leadership rather than on Jesus himself. We spend more energy conforming behavior to what the institution needs rather than helping people be transformed at the foot of the cross!”