We are living in a time when church has been redefined. What was once a group of people who believed in the Lord and met together for worshiping, having their faith nurtured, serving people, and proclaiming the Gospel, has become not only a big business, but also something totally different from the original plan stipulated by our Lord and His apostles.
The churches nowadays are more preoccupied with numbers, shows, self-help messages, surveys and demographic studies than they are with being community and living in community. On the other hand Christians are seeking those churches so they do not have to live in community. The crowd, the volume, and the dark ambience for the services do not facilitate connection, even though some of these churches offer and encourage their members to attend small groups. Unfortunately the number of people who are involved with them is not expressive.
Another challenge is the advancing of internet with applications that are supposed to connect you with other people, but what it does in reality is to keep you away from a real connection. It is common now to see two people sitting side by side and talking through text message. Churches are offering services through the internet, so you do not need to go to a physical place, talk to people, and interact with others about your life and faith. Everything is done virtually, offerings, announcements, message, altar calls, etc.
Please do not get me wrong, I see the value of the internet, and I am trying to use it in our church. People that cannot come, shut-ins, people in hospital, or traveling, but that cannot and should not substitute the presence of the person in the service, the personal connection, and fellowship with brothers and sisters.
Some people are just trying to avoid problems and complications. They think that if you are going to live together with other people you have to put up with their idiosyncrasies, and people do not want to do that.
Yes, this is one of the challenges of being community, or of being together. When you put sinners and broken people, even though redeemed, in one place you will have challenges and problems. Relationship will be difficult, and it will take time and effort to make it work. We live in a time when people do not want to work on these difficulties. They prefer to avoid the whole thing all together. This is what we are witnessing this moving away from church as we knew it.
In the New Testament we have a very interesting word that can help us to understand what we as a church is supposed to do and how we are supposed to live with each other. The Greek word is Allelon (one another) in my Bible software the word appears in 89 verses in the New Testament, a total of 93 exact hits. Approximately 47 of them are direct instructions for believers on how to relate to each other.
If we are supposed to live with each other, how should we do it? What Jesus and His apostles have to say to us about living in community? The word Allelon means one another. These are attitudes that I have to have toward my brothers and sisters and they have to have toward me, if we want to be a real church.
During the next weeks we will see the main themes for those verses and commandments. We will be able to see how far or how close we are of being the community that Jesus intended for us.
Have a blessed week,