I went to my church’s Life Group yesterday. I probably will not blog on days that I attend my church’s Life Group. I didn’t blog yesterday! And I enjoyed the break from blogging.
The meeting actually went by pretty quickly, even though we met for
an hour and a half. We talked about the introduction and the first two
chapters of Thom Rainer’s I Will. People shared about what was
going on in their lives and in the life of the church. I admire people
there who have been through a lot, yet are still faithful.
The thesis of Thom Rainer’s book, as I understand it, is that people
should not focus on receiving when they go to church, but rather on
giving and serving. Someone in the group candidly admitted that she
does go to church to receive: she feels filled when she worships God.
She is hoping to receive edification when she goes to church. She was
not apologetic about that. The thing is, she is one of the most active
members of the church.
I think that church should be about receiving and giving. Focusing
on one to the exclusion of the other does not work, at least not in my
experience. If I focus exclusively on receiving, I will be continually
wondering if I am receiving enough. If I focus exclusively on giving, I
can feel depleted. The two can mutually reinforce each other, though.
As I focus on God, I can be fed, and that can inspire me to serve
others. As I serve others, that can show me what God is like and allow
me to experience God in new ways, which feeds me.
We talked briefly about why many people today do not go to church.
Someone talked about how church in the old days was the meeting place
for the community. Someone else mentioned the attacks on Christianity.
I was thinking of saying something, but my thoughts were not fully
formulated, so I did not say anything. Why don’t many people go to
church these days? Of course, blog post after blog post talks about why
millennials are leaving church. I personally identify with a lot of
their reasons, at least when it comes to why I feel alienated from
right-wing American evangelical churches. But I doubt that they speak
for everyone. There are plenty of growing evangelical churches. And
there are many people whose reason for not going to church has nothing
to do with them being liberal, while the churches are conservative.
They just don’t care about organized religion.