I have had that question in my head for the last 10 years. I ask people and they don’t seem to have any answers. I talk to people and discover that a lot of people are unhappy with church as they know it. For 10 years I have wrestled with this. . . and for most of those 10 years I have been wondering, what if I have it wrong??
I look for a church that totally on fire for God all the time, believes pretty much exactly like I do, never has problems, loves me exactly like I want to be loved, is interested in my life, really cares about ME. Basically its my happy place. Really, I want it to be what I want it to be.
When I read over the above list not only do I see that it is extremely selfish, I also see there is very very little opportunity for growth in an environment like that. I do my best to follow God and obey him, but I am human and I can have some pretty messed up ideas about the way life should be lived. If I am with people who believe just like I do. no more conservative or liberal, umm, I will never be challenged, I won’t have the opportunity to experience another person’s viewpoint, quite honestly I won’t ever have to lay down anything simply because I value that other person more than I value what I want.
As I read through the Bible. . . I slowly am discovering that church has absolutely nothing to do with how happy I am with it. In fact, as painful as it is to say, it has very very little to do with what I want and almost everything to do with what you want, how I can help you, how I can best serve you. It doesn’t matter if you are what some might deem less spiritual or more spiritual. It doesn’t matter if we agree on everything or not. Basically if something is important to you and it’s the opposite of what I want, I am to lay down what I want for you. (unless it goes against Scripture)
The idea of a church that is always 100% on fire for God seems a little idealistic too. I mean, when I examine my life, it’s not always on fire for God. That’s a little like always feeling that euphoric feeling you have when you first fall in love. There would be few quiet times beside the still waters if there was always something huge happening in everyones lives. I look at God’s chosen people in the Bible and uhh, yeah they weren’t constantly on fire either, in fact it was up and down for them. I am not justifying a lethargic attitude towards God. NOT AT ALL!! I am just thinking that my idea of a constant high in our spiritual lives is a little. . . well a lot, idealistic. It’s not loving my brother as myself to expect him to be something I can’t even be. Our relationships with God are all at different places. Some of us are going to be on the mountain and some of us going through the valley. I think I have such a small idea of what Church should or could look like.
So I guess I am saying all this to say– I am laying down my list of ideals. Laying down what I want or think would be cool and giving it over to God to define. Maybe after ten years of searching and creating ideals/lists, some answers will finally come through.