By Jared Morrison
This whole coronavirus thing has been and will continue to be quite a crazy ordeal. However, there have been several really positive things come out of this pandemic and one in particular makes me smile. It seems the church is being a little more like The Church.
The restrictions on group sizes are causing people to meet in their homes, which creates a smaller, more intimate setting where people can really get to know one another, meet one another’s needs, and reach out to those in need around them more than ever before. Acts Chapter 2 is playing out all over the world. But one aspect of this new church at home movement gives me pause. I think the idea and concept are amazing, but feel like many churches are missing a huge opportunity to let families start being the church instead of simply going to church.
Prior to church at home, the majority of our Sunday services were the typical western church model where the pastor and a few other select people used their gifts and talents to minister to those sitting in the pews. The focus was more on going to church rather than being the church. In many cases, we were like spectators at a performance. Now that we’re doing church at home, it seems like none of that has changed. It might actually be worse now. Pastors and church leaders are scrambling to figure out how to broadcast these performances into the homes of thousands of spectators where we sit on our couches or lay in our beds and watch. Well, that sounds a lot like a typical night of Netflix to me!
Now, don’t get me wrong. I truly believe that God can draw people to Him any way He chooses, including a livestream of a service. But if we treat that time like any other 3-songs-offering-and-a-sermon Sunday, then we’re still just going to church instead of being the church.
I was eating lunch today and something my beautiful wife said got me to thinking about this new online church movement and how it could possibly be unhealthy for our families, especially for our kids. By having them sit in front of a screen and watch a church service, we’re essentially reinforcing what we’ve unintentionally been teaching them for years and years now; that a select group performs a few songs, a pastor gives a well-crafted sermon, and their job is to sit respectfully, listen well, and then hopefully go into the world and do what they were taught. But you all know as well as I do that our kids do as they see much more than do as they are told. Our kids need to see God in action!
So my thought was, what if we approached this church at home thing differently? What if we turned the TV or the laptop off and let our kids lead us in a few of their favorite worship songs? What if we gave everyone a turn reading scripture and then ask each other what God is speaking to us about it? What if we let everyone pray out loud what’s on their hearts? And then, what if we discussed as a family how we could best reach out to those around us in need and then acted on it?
I’m getting goose bumps as I type this because the thought of how raw, real, and powerful this could be for our families is so exciting! And think about it, you can do this any day and time of the week. You could do it daily. You could sleep in on Sunday. (Gasp) The possibilities are endless!
Just imagine how this opportunity to BE the church could transform our families, communities, and the world. When our families, and most importantly, our kids, start to realize that they have the same power and authority that their pastors or children’s pastors do to teach, prophesy, lay hands on the sick, etc., we’ll start seeing these little world-changers do just that – change the world!
I’ll admit, we need to do way more of this in our own house and we, by no means, have this church thing completely figured out. We’ve been on a journey for quite a while now to try and figure out for ourselves how to be more like the church we read about in the New Testament. We do believe that we need to be connected or joined to a local body of believers, so don’t think I’m suggesting you bail on church altogether. But just maybe we should rethink how we can BE the church during this unprecedented time we find ourselves in.
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