Friday, December 21, 2012

Going to church or being the church

I enjoyed this brief post from Eric Carpenter this morning, The Relationship Driven Church. Eric talks about the contrast between an event driven view of the church ("worship services", Sunday school, VBS, etc.) and a relationship driven church. He rightly points out that we see very little about events in the Bible. Even the oft referenced events in Acts 20 are less a "church service" than a farewell meal for Paul. After all the preface to the event is that they gathered on the first day of the week to break bread, not have have a "worship service". What the New Testament does focus on is the interpersonal relationship between Christians, relationships that happen more when we are not at the event.

Here is what I commented.

It really gets to the whole idea of church as a place you go and a thing you do rather than a life you live. In fact one could easily argue that we spend so much time preparing for the event that we have little time left over for the relationships and that real relationships almost always take place outside of the event where we are able to interact and be ourselves.

It is fascinating to watch a traditional worship service when it lets out. It is a weird mix of people greeting one another and rushing to the door. After all, "church is over", a terrible expression that does violence to the idea of the church as we see it in the New Testament. People rush out because the event is over. Not in everywhere but in most traditional church services this is true. Woe to the person who gets between a church goer after church and the local Cracker Barrel! Give Eric's post a quick and ask some questions, mostly where do we spend our most effort, on relationships or or events?

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