Saturday, September 29, 2007

Why Can't the Church on Sunday Look More Like the Stadium on Saturday?

Ever go to a college football game and just look at the people? I hope not, but if you do, what you'll see is something very interesting. You'll see people of every age, gender, race, socioeconomic level and more in one place for one purpose, to cheer for their team.

What I wonder is why, when the church has Christ in common, is it so segregated? How is it that we can feel "comfortable" in a football stadium and yet "uncomfortable" in church with people "different" from us?

Scripture reminds us that someday "every knee should bow, . . . and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11) If eventually people from every tongue and tribe will gather in one place to confess Jesus Christ as Lord, why shouldn't we do it now? My dream is that the "sanctuary" on Sunday would look (and even sound) more like the stadium on Saturday. P.S. Go Bucks!

2 comments:

phil said...

I have been wrestling with this as well. I attend a church that is located on the westside of Columbus. Not the inner city and not suburbia. It's almost like an pseudo-suburbia (not sure how else to describe it). I was talking with my pastor about this actually just last night.
A majority of the members of the church travel from white middle class neighborhoods (including myself) to this place we call church.
We may be growing but it is only from church to church. We are struggeling with multiplying.
I believe it is because our friends the ones we come in contact with the most (from our white middle class neighborhoods) here "my church is in the hilltop" and automatically get negative thoughts. therefore we can't bring people from our neighborhoods in. Also the reverse is true the neighborhood does not want anything to do with the church because all they see is a bunch of white middle class people coming in every Sunday in their perfectly ironed suits and pretty dresses.
My fear/struggle is that we are at where you are talking about. We are afraid of changing to accept those that we CAN impact. It is almost given that those from suburbia aren't going to come in to are church, possible but that shouldn't be our focus.(I think) It is the neighbors to the church building.
Many churches have formed house churches to reach their suburbia neighbors which is a positive move and I think we could do this. However, that is just going to produce more white middle class churches(just smaller).
I think for us, in order to make the time on Sunday where we come before the throne of God look something like what you describe is a lot of change. More in the heart of people than anything. But also practical things. We need to be foreign missionaries in our own country (let's face it this is a foreign land-we are aliens on this earth), engage the host culture, find common ground, build relationships, MEET NEEDS, build trust, show love and mercy...oh yeah, and GRACE!. And unfortunately it is not a formula we can write in a book and give away. It is going to look different for every church because the culture is different everywhere.
Even around my church there is three distinct cultures I am aware of. An overwhelming abundance of an older generation (50's -70's), a large Somalian community and an ever growing Hispanic community.
All this to say this subject is something that should at least be on peoples radar screen. Or they are in for a big surprise when they reach the throne room of God and look around to find people from every tongue, tribe and nation.

THANKS! GREAT POST!

dennis said...

phil,

Great to see you last week! Thanks so much for your comment. One thing I've thought about since posting this blog is, who are my friends? What do they look like. If I don't have "friends" who "different" than I am then how will my church ever be different? Truth is it starts with me and not the church. I have to be more "diverse" in my friendships. Ouch! Thanks again for your comment.