Sitting on a comfy sofa in a USAirways lounge, I fought to keep from curling up in a fetal position to sleep for hours. A 2 a.m. shuttle pick up at the hotel for a 5 a.m. flight made me decide to never even go to bed. Rather, after a nice dinner and hours of chatting with long-lost friends, I headed out the door at midnight to go for a much needed run. I felt refreshed after showering, meeting the much-too-early limo at the appointed hour. However, I now pay for that decision.
Somewhere between drooping eyelids and and fuzzy thinking, I glanced up at the large television at the end of the room. Flashing across the screen and much to the amusement of the broadcaster, the following church advertisement was shown. "Come hear our pastor. He's not very good but he's short." I laughed out loud.
Why go to church in the first place? Is it for social standing or to be viewed as spiritual? Is it to check off a necessary activity and be relieved of any other obligation for the rest of the week? I don't think so.
While there are many flavors of local church buildings and organizations, the style is much less important than the Christian service it produces. While a pastor has an obligation to optimize his communication skills, his deftness in words (or lack thereof) should not be the primary focus of choosing a church. Nor should the list of activities and groups be key in the decision. Rather, participation is pivotal.
Of course, we need to be discerning that a local church body is true to Scripture and theologically sound. But we dare not be mere spectators. We must be doers. We must choose to encourage and edify. We must be accountable to others and welcome necessary chastisement. We must live and love as a functional family, understanding our role in a hurting world.
No church is perfect for it is made up of imperfect people. But all of us imperfect people are instructed to live perfectly together as the Body of Christ. Let's be careful to guard against both spectator church attendance as well as critical attitudes toward the preacher's or service stylings. After all, we are the Church; not a building or program or personality. Get involved. Love one another. Serve a brother or sister. Be open to their needs. Fill those needs. Encourage. Edify. Challenge. That is the way the church of Christ operates.