A friend asked me this question today, and in a rare moment of clarity, I actually came close to putting my thoughts and feelings into something resembling a proper statement.
What am I looking for in church? I’m looking to meet with God along with fellow Christians. Arriving at such a simple statement has been a daunting process, since church has become so much more than an encounter with God, if we even get around to actually meeting God at all.
Before I fall into the “I’m emerging and want to whine about the church” trap, I should probably flip my question around a little. What is God looking for in church? Or perhaps we can whittle it down to, “What is God looking for?”
Perhaps the simplest answer is: “us.” I may flatter myself and the rest of humanity with such a statement, but when I look at the message of scripture and the experiences of Christians through the Holy Spirit, it seems that God is quite interested in keeping in touch with us.
And if meeting God–by that I mean a real life-changing, spiritual encounter through the Holy Spirit–is most important, then what does that look like and what does that mean for church meetings? Are we a little too focused on the talk and not so much on the practice of Christianity in our meetings?
The verse that keeps coming to my mind regarding church is 1 Corinthians 4:20 “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” I’m currently wrestling what that “power” looks like for a gathering of Christians.