I live in what is referred to as, "the Bible Belt" of Canada. Hundreds of churches surround the modestly sized city and yet with my ten years of living here I've yet to call one my home church.
I'm not here to pick on church, or scold those who do enjoy and find comfort in the place they call home. I realise this is a hot button topic at the moment, with more and more people choosing to enjoy a sermon off YouTube in their pjs instead of heading out in their Sunday best. Perhaps we're becoming too picky, and need to lower the bar. Or, maybe there's a real shift happening throughout the Christian community that needs to be addressed.
Although a large amount of people may enjoy the standard church service and model that we've enjoyed for many many years, perhaps it's time to rethink as to why we do things the way we do.
Oddly enough, when I've been travelling and living in new places temporarily, I've been able to find a home church that I so deeply love and connect with. So then, why am I having such a hard time in a community bursting at the seams with churches to attend?
What is missing?
I know I'm not alone in this feeling. There's a steady drop of Christians who still call themselves, "Church Goers", especially among the millennial generation.
So, what is it exactly? What are we missing? Is it a combination of everything? Who's to blame, me or the church?
It's tough to find the balance between wanting to see revival and change in the traditional, while also remaining humble and not expecting the church model to change specifically for ourselves, or a certain generation.
I believe a common factor amongst people passing up on attending church is these two things. Showmanship, and connectivity.
There have been occasions where I've walked into a church and wanted to crawl out of my skin. That nagging feeling that something is clearly off. I've snuck out of the back early a handful of times.
The church is meant to be a place filled with broken people. Born again or not, we are all in need of our Saviour, we all fall short each and every day, so why is it that when we all come together in community each Sunday morning, we pretend that it's "all good"?
Why do we put on nice Sunday smiles? How come so many people claim that they left the church because it caused more harm than good? Why is it that our tithes and offerings are going towards having the best lights and sound systems and not towards community outreach?
These questions in mind, we should be deliberate in the way we present ourselves individually, as well as the service as a whole. Not to say we're supposed to be Johnny Raincloud and be miserable, but rather to seek authentic relationships within the body, which sometimes may not look like you're a ray of sunshine.
The original church
My only conclusion to all of these thoughts is, we're not remembering the original purpose for church.
The original idea and heart behind church is a beautiful thing. To come together in a community of broken people in need of a saviour, and to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and the bride of Christ.
Where two or more are gathered in His name is exemplifying church. Coming together to encourage each other with our spiritual gifts, praising him, taking communion together, these are just a few of the things that should be at the ultimate core.
When did it become so complicated?
We're all craving acceptance, community, mentorship, and real relationships with our brothers and sisters. Church for some may not look the same as church for others, but that doesn't mean that it's not the right way. Let's learn to walk with each other in humility and authenticity.
Miranda Bersaglio is a Canadian writer and filmmaker. During her free time, she can be found travelling the globe in search of a new story to tell.
Miranda Bersaglio's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/miranda-bersaglio.html