Archive for October, 2012

idol church

Monday, October 29th, 2012

I don’t hate church.

Agape Ann ArborLet me say that again to be perfectly clear. I don’t hate church. I’m a missionary and a church planter. God called me twelve years ago to vocational ministry. God called me to work in and for the church. My current endeavor is launching a new church community called Agape Ann Arbor.

As a missionary and church planter, I spend a lot of time talking to people about Agape Ann Arbor. The more I share our vision and our story the more confused I am by the reactions I receive. Here is a brief summary of what I typically share with someone interested in learning more about us. If you’d like to know more you can check out our Open Letter to Ann Arbor, Introduction to Agape Ann Arbor, and blog.

Agape Ann Arbor is a different kind of church community. Our vision is to be a community experiencing and expressing God’s love. The typical church in America is built around the weekend worship service, focusing on musical corporate worship and preaching. We’re building Agape Ann Arbor around relationships where people can experience and express God’s love with each other. The typical church plant launches with a Sunday morning worship service. We’re launching with parties and conversation groups where people connect and share relationally.

Virtually everyone with whom I’ve shared this vision has responded incredibly positively to the idea. Here’s what I don’t understand, why aren’t more people doing this? I’ve not met a single person trying something similar in the US. It’s almost an unspoken rule that if you don’t have a traditional Sunday morning worship service you’re not a church.

I feel like many of us have made an idol out of the Sunday morning worship service. I feel like we value singing and preaching more than we value Loving each other just as Jesus loved his disciples.

What do you think? Is this a fair assessment? What am I missing?

Why Church?

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

If you are a part of a church, why?

Have you ever heard this statement? I attend (fill-in-the-blank) church now because the teaching is deeper. It’s usually said with a smug arrogance directed at the last church the attended that “didn’t go deep enough” for them. What does that even mean anyway? What is “deep teaching?”

Here’s my root problem with that statement. It reeks of consumerism. At it’s core, that statement is saying that church is about what I get out of it and if I’m not getting what I want, I’ll go somewhere else. After all, what am I getting for the money I give?

Here’s the reality. Church isn’t about you. If you leave, the church will still be the church. If you stop giving the church is still going to be the church. God owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10).

So I’ll ask again, why are you a part of a church?

This is an area where I think my Catholic brothers and sisters are moving in the right direction. A church worship service is not about the people sitting in the pews. It’s about God. Catholics attend mass to meet God. Specifically, they believe they meet God in the eucharist. This isn’t the place where I want to debate the theology of the eucharist. It’s not important for this post. What is important is that Catholics attend mass to meet God not to learn interesting factoids about the Bible. This should be true of all Christians. We should all attend worship services with the goal of meeting God. After all what are we worshipping?

Finally, why are you a part of a church? Is it about you or about God?