Hebrews 10:24-15 “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
That’s like a command to go to church, and one of the main reasons it gives is so we can motivate and encourage one another to live the Christian life. The question occasionally comes up about whether or not someone is ‘being fed’ by what takes place, or why a person or a family doesn’t attend much or at all anymore.
I have been in the habit of attending church and being involved on a weekly basis for decades. But in the last few years, perhaps just the older I get, I have this tug of war about staying home and just spending some quality time alone with God as opposed to the face time, assembly line routine that may or may not be significant.
So then the question that popped up in my mind as I sit home on a Sunday morning, ‘What feeds me?’ I know what doesn’t feed me, and I have come up with a few things that do. Maybe I’m different than anyone else, maybe not. But here’s my little list.
- What feeds me is to learn and to apply truths of Scripture to what’s going on in my life and in life in general. My head swims with work stuff, of grinding out a tough winter, of US and world news and events, wanting my life to count, and intersecting with happenings of the people around me. It takes time to process those things as a group, but sitting in a bigger Sunday school room with people coming in and out and watching a video or having one person face the rest of the class doesn’t get to those things. That set up doesn’t help to really hash through the topic, the Scripture or life stuff. You see people but there’s not much past that. If we’re supposed to encourage one another and spur one another on to love and good deeds, we need a format to do that.
- What feeds me is getting into the Word and letting the Word get into me. I don’t like three points picked out of a passage of Scripture, sprinkled with Internet stories. I do like digging into God’s story and letting the Spirit apply it to our story. I like pastors and teachers who have been grabbed and gripped by God’s truths and then is helping us to be grabbed and gripped too. The Word is living and active and it pierces to our motives and intentions. Spread the word!
- What feeds me is praying and asking for God’s working power to show up and change us. It says in Acts 13:2 “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said ‘set apart Barnabus and Saul for the work I have called them.'” True worship is listening to the voice of God, not programming out a set number of songs. Worship is singing songs of praise, but it also involves praying, more than just the offertory prayer, waiting on God and doing what He says. We’re so American, and it’s hard to avoid that.
So what would my church look like? Maybe Sunday School being more of an intentional small group, led by people who know how to teach, listen, pray and guide. Maybe all the groups study the same Scripture together, like working through the New Testament and then we get together and share what we learned, facilitated by the Pastor who then has a teaching time. Maybe we sing and pray at tables in the sanctuary, and not rows of chairs to enable that small and large group praying. Whatever it is, it would be aimed at teaching, encouraging, applying, equipping and listening to God and to others more.