Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Are we doing church right?

Is it just me or is there a nagging disconnect between what I read church was like in the New Testament and what we see today in Western Culture?   Is it just me or do you wonder if there's something more to being a Christian other than just going to church on Sundays, reading your Bible, praying, and trying to be good?

I remember years ago when my husband had a "road to Damascus" type experience with God and he got immediately saved, saw visions of demons and angels and was so excited about God and so filled with His Spirit, that he spent every evening reading the Bible from cover to cover!  I remember him asking me the question. "So now what?"

It's the same question most of us ask after we have a life-changing encounter with God. How can we go back to living our normal every day lives?  How can we do that, knowing what we now know! Knowing that this world, this life, isn't the end. Knowing that God loves us so much that He made the ultimate sacrifice of His Son to rescue us and give us eternal life?  I mean, it's so exciting!! It's so incredible? How can we ever be the same?

I had no answer to give him.  For me, I just did the things I saw other good Christians doing (see above list). I did the things I was told to do until eventually I blended in with everyone else in the world as I went to work and raised a family and went about my business. Trouble is, that's just what my husband did too.  But is that all there is?

Then I read the New Testament, in particular ACTS and I'm in awe of the lives these early Christians led.
Here are some differences I see from today's church

Today                                                                                  Early Christianity
Church meets in large buildings                                         Church met in houses
Christians are spectators, listening to sermons            Everyone participated in the meeting
Pastor has ultimate authority over church                   Levels of leadership were spread among people with
                                                                                                           different gifts (1 Corinthians 12)
Lord's supper consists of wafer and juice                   Lord's supper was sharing a meal with fellow believers
Miracles are the exception                                                Miracles were the norm
Most church growth is stunted                                         Church growth exploded
Fellowship restricted to private groups or meetings    Lives were intricately tied together to help each other.
Some churchgoers tithe their 10%                                   Christians gave everything to provide for the poor
Church flooded with nominal Christians                        Christians on fire for God

Can you think of more?  I realize these early Christians didn't have the funds to build churches and later on, they were hunted down and persecuted. But I've also heard currently in countries such as China and India, secret house churches are on the rise and Christianity is exploding.  Your thoughts?



  1. Tues Apr 24th,
    "Morning, MaryLu."
    In answer to your question: "Are we doing Church right ?" ... maybe not. It seems in many Churches today ... that the fire, passion, zeal, and overflowing love for the Lord ... has greatly dwindled. And, I hear that many Churches are "watering down the Gospel" ... and ommiting verses that might be "offensive" to some !!! Shame on them !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    It really hit me, as you shared the differences between the two lists of "Today" and, the "Early Churches" ! Wow !!! From that listing ... we have lost so very much !!!
    Truly MaryLu ... we the western civilization would not know what hit us ... if we were to 'suffer any type of persecution' for our faith and beliefs !!!
    Many have just 'readjusted' to becoming -- complacent, lethargic, and some even hardened.
    Oh, that we would "strive" to become more like the "early Christians" ... to impact our World !
    Thanks so much for sharing this extremely sobering and thought-provoking blog, MaryLu.
    Take care, and, God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda Hurley

  2. Very good points, MaryLu! Like you, I long for meaningful church and fellowship. I long for simplicity. Let's love God and show His love to others. That's it. Sometimes I feel like we overburden ourselves with activities in the church without truly taking a minute to see what the real needs of the people are. It's frustrating that we've gotten so far away from the biblical model of church. I guess we pray that others in our congregation, as well as church leaders, see that too! Maybe then, real change can occur...

  3. I agree too. It seems that we definately have gotten away from the way it used to be in the early church. So many are now just trying to please the world, increase numbers, and the power that comes with authority is often misused. I wish we could do it like the early church did. And in agreement with amb32's comment ... get back to the real message: Love. It's what Jesus taught. Above all else, love God, love others. Thanks for the post. It's nice to know that there are other believers who wonder about this too.

  4. In a group I am a member of on FB, someone posted that your typical modern Christianity has more in common with Eastern religions, than the early church, and that most people who profess to be a Christian are more moralistic deists. That really struck me, and I have not stopped thinking about it since I read that.

  5. My husband doesn't like to go to church for these very reasons. He likes the way the NT church operated, and he thinks today's church is impersonal, and you might as well be watching a sermon on TV. Sadly, I have no argument for him. Just a prayer that God will one day lead us to a church that models themselves after the NT. God bless you!

  6. Well, I'm certainly glad to know I'm not alone in these thoughts. I truly believe the Holy Spirit is starting to stir up the Western Church and make people start to think about what they are doing and whether it's what Jesus wants us to do. Why did the early church attract so many people? I contest it was their love for one another, their zeal for Christ and their outreach to those in need. Today's church tends to drive people away. Like Gwendolyn's hubby (sorry to heart that). But I know so many others like him. And we aren't really attracting young people either unless they grew up in the church. Why? Because it's not real. It's just pew warming and entertainment. Where is the power of God? Where is the Love of God? How can it be expressed in the auditorium style churches we have today?
    Emma I'm going to try and do more research on how twisted our Christian beliefs have become with paganism. It all started when Constantine became a Christian and lured the church from homes into buildings where they combined Christian practices with pagan rituals. Very sad.

  7. You hit the nail on the head. I have been having this same stirring in my spirit ever since I dropped all my religious upbringing and read the book of Acts as someone who never read it before. The Holy Spirit asked me, "Tracy do you see the modern church here?" I said "Lord I do not" He asked me, "Are you ready to really follow me?" Yes! Are you?

    1. Thanks Tracy. I wrote this post 3 years ago and I feel even stronger about it today, but I'm having a hard time finding the type of church mentioned in ACTS anywhere. At least not here in California where I live. My pastor loves the Lord but I believe he's hesitant to change the way things have been done for years. We have come so so far from what Jesus wanted... it's sad. Sometimes I believe only persecution will wake up the Western church.