I’ve been thinking about “doing church” lately, and what that really means. I think it means different things to different people at different times. I’m pretty sure that’s how it is for me. A friend of mine recently told me that, when one of his best friends and fellow elder died, he didn’t know how he would “do church” without him – he’d didn’t remember church without his friend.
So last night we went to a very expressive service, and the pastor, who was (and officially still is) Southern Baptist, taught about worship and how the institutional, traditional church needs to understand the need for more lively worship…how today’s generation of young Christians don’t do church in the traditional way and don’t care about the walls and boundaries denominations set up; and how all believers need to know the meaning of the Greek and Hebrew words describing worship, and then go and worship accordingly.
The music was loud, although really very good – the band was musical, the voices pleasant and harmonies tight. But unfortunately the acoustics weren’t good and we couldn’t understand many of the words. And although I didn’t have a bit of a problem with what the pastor taught out of Scripture, I really wondered if he thought up the subject for the evening once he turned around and saw visitors, older faces that usually grace the walls of traditional churches. Possibly. But even if he was completely prepared for his teaching before the service began, it seemed to me that he didn’t give much allowance for individual personalities in worship. God made us unique, and some of us may worship deeply and fully in a loud, expressive service; some of us may worship deeply and fully in a quiet, more “reverent” environment. Either way, what matters most is the expression of the heart.
I don’t think everyone has to jump on board (or jump around the church building) with loud music and shouting in order to be spiritual. But we do need to be thankful for our differences as we give praise to the God who loves us with an everlasting love. And we need to love those who are different than we are in forms of worship. However we choose to “do church” may not make as much difference to Him as it does to us; what matters is that we choose worship. “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.” Heb 12:28