DO YOU ENJOY YOUR CHURCH?
While I was a college student in the early 90s, there were two noticeable changes happening in our country. First of all, the economic liberalisation was moving our country from a land of poverty and gloom to a nation of hope and cheer. Today’s youth, most of them born in the 90s, have no idea how things were prior to the Narasimha Rao-Manmohan Singh era.
The Old Revival
The second radical change that was taking place in our country was in the church. Young people around the nation saw a great revival in campuses. Prayer fellowships and youth camps flourished. Again, those who are in their 20s now might not be able to comprehend the genuineness of the spirituality during the 90s when ‘praise and worship’ was not commercialised and Bible studies were not downloaded from the internet! We had a hunger for the presence of the Lord, which no Christian television (the only channel we had was DD!) could satisfy; we had a longing to learn the word of God which Google couldn’t fulfil. (Well, there was no Google, Amazon was still a river, and Blackberry was only a fruit!)
The revival that God sent those days had a beautiful balance of both worship and the word. We didn’t have to choose between the two. I believe that is the way it should be. Our Lord had clearly told about true worshippers worshipping Him in spirit and in truth (Jn.4:23). Sundays were no lazy days to sleep till noon and watch the Doordarshan movie in the afternoon; we longed for Sundays to come. Weekly Bible studies were no senior-citizens’ club; we loved to dig for pearls in the word. In short, we loved the Lord and His people.
What’s The Problem?
Let me challenge the reader with a candid question, “Do you truly enjoy the church you are in?” If not, there may be a problem either with you or the local church, or both. If your lack of interest is because of a lack of commitment to the Lord on your part, then it’s time to be on your knees and get things right with God. Is there a sin you refuse to repent of? Is there an area of your life the Lord is specifically dealing with, and you’re rebelling against? Or, is it a personal discouragement that has caused you to believe that God has failed you? Whatever it is, may it be addressed before it is too late and your heart is too cold to respond to the warmth of His love.
Now, let us imagine that your walk with the Lord is more exciting than it ever was. But you’re still not sure if you are in the right congregation. You love the Lord, His word and even His people, but you simply cannot look forward to the first day of the week. Let me help you with a few crucial questions all of us should ask about our churches.
Is your pastor truly born-again? One might wonder, what kind of a silly question this is! Hold on. It’s not as silly as you might think. With the kind of liberal stuff that is being taught in some Bible colleges and seminaries, it is highly likely that many churches in our country are having unregenerated pastors and priests, mechanically following the prescribed pattern of liturgy and tradition. Not every minister behind the pulpit is called by the Lord. Some are there as a profession. If your shepherd is not truly committed to the Lord, you will sense it in his conduct and ministry. Maybe your unhappiness has something to do with the uncalled and sometimes unsaved minister. In that case, boldly share the Gospel with him.
Is the word of God preached and taught in your church? Sadly, the churches in India are having a severe shortage of good teachers who are anointed to give the believers solid food (1Cor.3:2;Heb.5:12,13). Some men of God preach ‘encouraging’ sermons only, conveniently ignoring the essential doctrines that balance the spiritual diet, leaving the church with too much sugar and no solid stuff. It is essential to encourage the congregation with uplifting words, but they should also learn sound doctrines, lest they should fall prey to false teachers (2Tim.4:3). Are you unhappy with your church because you have had too much milk and you’re hungry for some solid food?
Is the worship team giving glory to God? One of the most lightly taken ministries in contemporary churches is praise and worship. Psalm 2:11 says, “Worship the Lord with reverence and rejoice with trembling.” Young guitarists and drummers have taken the place of Spirit-filled, God-fearing worship leaders. I have nothing against young ministers. But is the young man up there because he is a good musician, or is it because the elders of the church have felt that the Lord has consecrated him for such a task? It’s a terrible tragedy when ‘kids’ get together for ‘worship practice’ on Saturdays with no elder to oversee them and on Sundays they perform on stage!
Is your discontentment with the church due to a worship team that does not revere God?
Whatever be the reason, the church has to be a place where a child of God can rejoice. If it’s not in the church, then where else would you and I find joy in a world that is moving from perversion to more lawlessness?