It’s been about six weeks now since we left our local church and began meeting at home. You would think that we would be having a lot of adjustment issues to the sudden change in things we’ve done every week for more than 40 years. But the truth is exactly the opposite. We couldn’t be happier or enjoying the experience more.
For most of our adult life, we have been church leaders. We’ve taught and led at every level, and almost every office imaginable as well as creating a few positions and programs that didn’t exist before. We’ve encouraged and evaluated and spent hours considering and praying over what needed to be done. We encouraged innovative ideas and fresh perspectives. And I’ve come to the conclusion that for the most part, we’ve been doing CPR on a corpse. The traditional church as it exists in many Christian communities, is barely breathing and turning blue.
We need to KNOW why we do the things we do in the name of faith and not do anything just because we’ve always done it. That was our contention at our former church, that the church is shrinking, dying by leaps and bounds. We are losing our youth and not attracting new families. And it’s not because we don’t have a rousing praise and worship service with a band where we try to get everyone to raise their hands or sway in their places. It’s not because we don’t have a drama team to do an emotional skit with a cool musical background. The church keeps trying all the stuff that other churches are doing, comparing ourselves to the mega churches.
Those mega churches do not have REAL power. They have emotion. Symbolism over substance. It feels good, but it’s like cotton candy. Get a mouthful and it tastes so sweet, but it dissolves into nothing. It satisfies the craving for something to eat, but it doesn’t nourish the body. And a steady diet of cotton candy religion will cause truth decay.
What has been draining OUT of the church over the last 40 years, is the bread of life, that focus on Scripture. It’s the only place there is true life-changing power. The Word, not the fancy trimmings, or the innovations, not the eloquent preachers. It’s the Bible. People are starving to death in the pews. They hear a few verses here and there, but they don’t get taught how to study it for themselves. They aren’t being urged to deeply study on a daily basis.
My husband and I cut our teeth on real Bible study, it’s what drew us in like an addiction. We learned to study, to listen for the Lord’s voice, to recognize His truths in the Bible. We learned to dig into the Word with a concordance and some Bible commentaries and a Greek and Hebrew lexicon. What does it say? What does it mean? What should we do about it? Were the foundational questions as we studied. And now, in our little group of 20 or so each week, sitting with our Bibles and study tools, that’s what we are doing. A “feeding frenzy” at times, but it’s joyful and the most real thing we’ve done in our lives.