Are you sick of traditional, ritualistic religion? Are you tired of church-as-usual? What does that mean anyway? I cannot, for the life of me, understand why some Christians are okay just purchasing their fire hazard insurance (you know, the kind that keeps them out of Hell), strapping in, hunkering down, and waiting on Jesus’ return. I mean, seriously?! Aren’t we supposed to be busy about our Father’s business? Looking for the lost? Creating environments for the Holy Spirit to minister to the lives of those around us? I honestly cannot sit through a church service where the Holy Spirit is hindered and squelched for fear someone may do something out of the ordinary.
Maybe church isn’t even supposed to look like it did when you were a boy. Maybe Jesus will be just fine if we don’t sing 2.5 songs from the middle of the hymnal this Sunday. Maybe your denomination isn’t the most accurate to the original Hebrew/Greek translation of the Bible. I was raised in a traditional, small church where raising one’s hands in worship, shouting “amen” or something similar in support of the pastor, or clapping in church were all grossly frowned upon. It wasn’t considered reverent. Imagine my surprise when I visited other churches and saw various forms of worship and service order. Today, I am thoroughly convinced that whether your church chooses to sing from the hymnal, a sheet of paper, or the big screen, the Lord receives it as a fragrant aroma, when done with a pure heart of worship.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:15-17
Here’s a riveting, ground-breaking thought…what if we put aside our preconceived ideas of what church should look like, stop bickering over whether Baptists are more right than Methodists, or whether we should sing 3 or 4 stanzas of “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus,” or whether we should buy pizza or hamburgers with the church fund on family fun night, and truly get free. Let’s step aside and let the Holy Spirit move in lives. Let’s be quiet and still before the altar and truly “hear” the voice of God in our lives. Let’s lock arms with other denominations focused not on what separates us, but rather what unites us — the love of Jesus. Let’s enter into worship this Sunday morning with great expectation that we may actually encounter the King there.
Jennifer Maggio is an award-winning author and speaker who is considered one of the nation’s leading authorities on single parents’ and women’s issues. She is founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries and Overwhelmed: The Single Moms Magazine. For more information, visit thelifeofasinglemom.com.