How is church working for you at the moment?

We live in an individualistic society. We are given to collective emotional response and at times community action, but our primary drive is for individual fulfilment and satisfaction as the highest goal.

We live in a consumer culture. We consume food, news, entertainment and experiences with voracious appetites. We choose from a menu of possibilities and complain if the products we consume do not live up to our expectations. 

At our worse times, we want our church to satisfy our individual needs and requirements. We want to tune in to church to consume preaching, Bible study, fellowship and some degree of entertainment and if it doesn’t live up to our expectations we quickly complain or withdraw. And we as leaders are probably the worst culprits!

In Galatians we read: ‘Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.’ (Galatians 6:1-3).

In those few words we see something of the mess and the beauty of the church. It’s a messy place where things go wrong and the experience doesn’t always please us. It’s an inconvenient community where we have to get stuck into the mess of other people’s lives, carry their burdens (not just our own) and lift them up when they fall. It’s a humbling place as we realise our own sin and that we are not as good as we thought we were.

But as Christ died for the sin of our selfishness, the church of Christ is a place where we get out from under our sense of self-importance and our pursuit of individual satisfaction. We don’t join to consume but to serve, and by God’s grace, we will again this month.

 

This reflection was written for the June monthly email newsletter. Subscribe now to get regular news and updates from Affinity.


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