One of my brothers once asked me what I'll like to see in a church (or something related). I think my response was that I'll like to see today's church become a true place of fellowship. Not a gathering of people who are so self-absorbed about their business they forget to smile at the person sitting next to them. Not a place we hurry in and hurry out weekly. Unless we really need to.
I do not expect us to come to church service pretending to be perfect. There was a time I used to expect that. But one day it dawned on me that most people who come to church are like me: imperfect beings seeking a place to refuel and just lay it all bare before God in worship, in the company of non-judgemental brethren.
These days I walk into church expecting that I don't come out the same way. I come out refreshed.
I think church these days need to conciously remember to keep their activities God-centered and not pastor-centered. I expect worship service to hold smoothly even if the pastors are not around. The choir members should be able to lead worship in a way that the sick will receive total healing and the hard-hearted will be broken and embrace Christ fully. Worship service should not depend on pastors alone. Every worker in church should be a minister. From the usher to the choir mistress, God should move mightily through these vessels and impact lives of those who come to worship.
I once heard an elder tell a pastor not to assume that everyone who come to church is born again. Some Pastors are sometimes in a hurry to double the number of their members that they don't remember to make altar-calls or feel the pulse of their congregation. This explain the reason we have people in the choir who are not born again. Or why people leave service feeling indifferent or as empty as they came in.
The church should be an awesome place of worship not a place to showoff one's latest pair of shoe. But of course it is important to come looking good, not slotful or haggard. Remember how much King Solomon spent in building the temple? How he used only the best of the best resources? Well, if our bodies are the temple of God I expect us to dress it up in our best, to honor God not oppress others. The content that go in e.g. food we eat, books we read, movies we watch should be only the best. Our bodies should honor and glorify God.
Today I did not go to church. I was upset I woke up late and hated the idea of walking into church halfway through the service. I tell myself to learn to treat God's business seriously. If we dare not walk in late to work on weekdays why feel it is okay to be late for church service? Or worse not even showup because it rained?
Well, I hear one day the religious practice of sunday-sunday gathering might become difficult due to attacks on church buildings et al. So we must cultivate the culture of ensuring our lives shine forth the glory of God in us wherever we go. And we must not wait for sundays only to fellowship with our brethren. We must not wait for pastor's instruction before we preach the gospel and pray for others. We must not wait for only Sundays to be Christ-like. Wherever we find ourselves, whatever day of the week, others should be able to see Christ Jesus reflect in us and through us.
May God deliver us from false purity. May God help us not to be a generation of creed without substance or seed. May God's word come alive in us and through us to influence others positively. May we worship God in spirit and in truth. May God preserve our saltiness.
Arise, shine and keep shining (make positive impact)! Praise God!