The Purpose of Church

Some who read this particular post might find it offensive, but it’s what I feel like writing about and it’s my blog, so you can always feel free to stop reading and leave. 🙂

I don’t think God particularly cares for churches with loud rock music, built-in coffee and gift shops, or disco lights during sermons. Those things seem to me like they’d be disrespectful to God. It’s been a long time since I visited a church with all of those things (what is often referred to as a McChurch or a megachurch), and I still can’t shake the thought of how un-churchlike it was.

It was a giant building and the church contained so many members that it was impossible for the pastor to get to know everyone (or at least every family) on a personal level. Yes, it’s great that this many people were interested in becoming Christian and who professed to be Christian. It bothered me when there were mass baptisms performed in the church. To me, baptism is a big deal. To be baptized means that you’re initiated into Christianity and you have taken the first step of a journey – to follow Christ and to become more like him. Maybe all those people who were being baptized legitimately felt the call to become Christian.

To me, Christianity is about self-denial and austerity. It’s about giving up earthly things in order to become more like Jesus, who was a heavenly figure. Big churches like that don’t seem like they’re all about self-denial, what with the coffee shops and the rock music and the disco lights and the comfy movie theater-style seats and the large congregations full of people who may not truly believe. Commercialism and materialism don’t belong in church.

Yes, it may be fun to go to a church that plays Christian rock instead of that old-fashioned organ music, but church isn’t supposed to be about fun or about those doughnuts you’ll get when you leave. In my eyes, when you go to church for a weekly service, the reason you’re going is to renew the promises you made when you were baptized. You’re going to cleanse yourself, to make yourself spiritually ready for the trials of the coming week, and to learn more about what it means to be a Christian. You’re not there to “rock out” or to necessarily feel good about yourself. You’re there to look upon your own flaws as a human and determine what you can do to become a better person.

11 thoughts on “The Purpose of Church

  1. Oh yes, definitely. I’m a Greek Orthodox, and although our church may be decorated, it’s decorated with paintings and other things do to with our beliefs. On the big saint days we do have a little food thing in the garden of the church however the food that’s served is also religious. Every piece of food has a story behind it and everyone knows that story. For example, last week when it was the epiphany, many people of our religion would have made what my grandma calls ‘Lokmades’ (doughnut-type balls of batter). And they say that you have to throw a few outside for the devil’s sidekicks (I’m not entirely sure what they are called) to come and eat them and because they have this treat they won’t come back again (so bad things won’t enter our lives).
    It’s little things like this which make my religion so special. A great post.

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    1. It’s similar in my church. I’m Roman Catholic and everything inside the church (and outside) has some kind of symbolic meaning. All the symbolism and meaning is what I like about my church… with those megachurches, you just don’t get the same depth.

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  2. Maggie . . . these are all very good reasons why YOU should not attend this type of Church. But we are not really in a position to judge how others choose to worship.

    I’m not convinced that God wants us to engage in self-denial or self-sacrifice in order to earn Her approval.

    I expect that She is Happy when we are Happy.

    Namaste. _/!\_

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  3. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34
    “BY THISeveryone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
    This is CHRISTIANITY in the most simple form.

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    1. @Assaad – While I agree with ethical position of “Love thy neighbor” that predates Jesus by a few centuries. It was a Rabbi by the name of Hillel the Elder who not only pushed that theology but, was the first person to adovcate the golden rule as well. So its not Christianity – its Judaism.

      Look it up.

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  4. Hi Maggie, I think that some churches get a little out of hand with some things but I think that church should be a happy time. A place for believers to come together and worship their Lord. God inhabits the praises of His people and when we get together and praise Him, it is a joyous and freeing experience.

    i don’t like seeing Starbucks in church and I think there can be some distractions with the other stuff but as long as the people are getting fed with the truth and are growing in the Spirit then i can live with it.

    I like instruments and new songs during worship. i don’t care for rock music, like heavy stuff but I do like music that you would hear on KLOVE, etc.

    I think too many people view church as a place to go and feel guilty and sorrowful. That is not what the Lord wants. He bore our sin and shame and guilt, so we don’t have to.

    I grew up catholic and always felt unworthy and guilty and not good enough. I believe it was more religion than relationship. God does not want us to suffer. He wants us to be happy, haters of sin and free in love. We are His children and He wants us to be fulfilled. He loves us.

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    1. To each his own, I say. A big part of God is who we believe he is. And in a way, we worship what we think God ought to be. And as humans, there is no way for us to really know who God is – he is simply too big to fathom. I think that might be way there are so many different ways to worship… because every religion sees God in a different way.

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