Over the last couple months, I’ve been examining the purpose of the church. In fact, it’s a common question my wife and I ask ourselves, “Why do we go to church? What’s the purpose of the church? Community? Teaching? Worship?” By asking these questions, it often draws a comparison with other faith communities. According to Share Faith, there are approximately 150,000 people who claim to attend church in Sarasota County. That’s nearly 50% of the county’s population. The last time I checked, all 150,000 weren’t going to Remnant. In fact, the largest church in our area boasts about 2,500 members. That’s 1.7% of the church population in our community. Which begs the question, with all the different types of churches, what draws someone to their church?
This past week during service, Pastor Frank asked us all to sit in silence listening to God for fifteen minutes. When is the last time you sat in complete silence for fifteen minutes? Let’s face it, we don’t. This world provides hundreds of distractions to make sure we’re always busy (or seem to be busy). Two things occurred to me during this experience.
- I struggled to silence my mind and listen to God. My mind was racing with a million things from work to home life.
- What church would be willing to sacrifice comfort to sit in silence for so long?
Let’s address the second point first. Churches today are on a schedule. Song, introduction, 2-3 songs, prayer, word, prayer, closing song, goodbye. Sound familiar? That’s church. We do this because people know what to expect. They come in, do church, and then leave. And as long as it doesn’t affect lunch plans, I’ll come back next week. Nothing uncomfortable. Uncomfortable should be the name of a sermon series. It probably already is. Sorry off point. Churches have their growth plan. They know what makes people ticked. They know what’s comfortable so others will invite their friends. But what if there are churches that purposefully make you feel uncomfortable. That’s how I felt this past week, uncomfortable.
Churches today are on a schedule. Song, introduction, 2-3 songs, prayer, word, prayer, closing song, goodbye. Sound familiar? That’s church. We do this because people know what to expect. They come in, do church, and then leave.
Which brings me to my second point. Why was I uncomfortable? Because I realized I don’t have the discipline to listen to God. To sit still and listen. I’m okay admitting this because I know I’m not the only one. At Remnant, we’re different. We’re a bunch of broken people just like all the other people that fill churches, but as a community, we understand the importance of feeling uncomfortable in efforts to make us be better disciples. Fifteen minutes felt like an eternity when you can’t rid the random thoughts distracting us from experiencing God. Perhaps, I didn’t answer my question, “What’s the purpose of going to church?” For me, I think I need to feel uncomfortable so I realized just where God is lacking in my life so I can work on disciplining myself to better experience God.
I’m not interested in experience theatrics (although I love awesome worship); I’m interested in experiencing God. When is the last time you experienced God?