Monday, October 18, 2010

Boring Churches...

I have the privilege of leading a Bible study for 4th/5th graders each week at Iva Elementary. It is so cool to see anywhere from 40-60 kids meet in the library each week to listen to the short Bible study and to pray together. A few weeks ago I overheard 2 boys talking right after we finished. One boy told the other, "Hey, that guy is the pastor over at Good Hope Baptist Church." The other boy rolled his eys and said outright, "I don't go to church. CHURCH IS BORING." I wish I could have videoed the scowl on the boy's face as he made this pronouncement...or indictment, I should say, against the churches he has visited in the past.

It would be very easy, at this moment, to rip on this young man for not liking church. I mean, what is there not to like, right?! Take a moment and look at your church through the eyes of an unchurched young boy. What is there that would capture his attention and get him excited to be there? Maybe the teacher came in 10 minutes late and had to make up a lesson on the spot, since she didn't have a curriculum. Maybe this young man encountered an unprepared, half-hearted teacher who read the lesson out of a book to him. Maybe all they sang were sad, slow songs with complicated words. Maybe everything invovled construction paper, glue, crayons, and scissors. Maybe no one took the opportunity to find out his name and to get to know him. Maybe all they did was "sissy stuff." Maybe they made him wear stiff clothes, sit as still as he could be, and never engaged his curious mind. Maybe no one showed him about how awesome it is to follow Jesus. Maybe no one made him feel like he was important. Maybe that is your church...

I believe it breaks the heart of God that His people can't capture the heart of a 10 year old boy. We have to ask these kinds of questions about our church, and not just for 10 year old boys. I am consumed with the goal of reaching the unchurched and dechurched people in my community. I want to reach laid-off mill workers, lonely single mothers, and crackhead loners. I want to reignite the heart of the middle aged man who got burned by a bad church experience a long time ago. I want to capture the heart of a 20-something young person who is asking lots of questions about life. I want to captivate a young married couple with the transforming grace of Jesus. I desperately want to reach that 10 year old boy so he can see that following Jesus is the most exhilerating adventure of his life! I am constantly trying to look at our church through their eyes. I don't want to create a stumbling block, because of my laziness, my stubbornness, my traditions, or my preferences that would keep someone from experiencing the love of Jesus. I will do whatever it takes the capture the heart of my community for Jesus. If that means doing things a different way, so be it. Whatever the case, we cannot let church be boring.

As I heard the boy's comment I stepped in and said, "I'm sorry that the churches you've been to are boring. You've obviously never been to my church. My church is awesome. I promise that my church isn't boring at all. If you come some time I guarantee you'll have an awesome time." And I meant that. Good Hopers, help me make sure that my promise to this young man is kept. Let's strive to captivate whoever walks through our doors with our message, our innovation, and our excellence. Church ought to be a place that captures the heart of a 10 year old boy. If we refuse to do it, who else in our society is poised to do it?

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