What I Want to See in a Church
Day 10 Lent – 25% of the way through Lent and our Lent Experiment. That’s right, 10 days of Lent and 10 out of 40 is well, you know.
Here we are on day 10 and on day 10 we are talking church, people. Specifically what I want to see in churches.
Our Ideal Church
Before I start this list of wants in a church – I do want to say that I have come to the understanding that church is not about me its about we. MORE importantly it’s about HIM. Him being Jesus. So while these are wants and while the church that I call home is definitely missing several aspects of my want list, I choose to continue to go because there is a bigger picture than just my wants.
That said, just because the present form of my home church looks differently than this list – doesn’t mean that it can’t evolve to be more like this list. And yes, I do know that I should be more active in making certain things happen if this is truly what I want.
SO consider this hypothetical, but a woman can dream, right? Here are 10 things what I want to see in church.
Women at the Pulpit
While the Methodist church we attended on Ash Wednesday isn’t somewhere I think I would want to attend every weekend, I do have to give praise to the fact there was a woman at the pulpit! Preach woman, preach! In all seriousness, it was such a fresh sight.
Women deserve leadership roles that involve speaking to the congregation just as much as a man deserves the role of pastor. I cringe when I feel a token woman is thrown on stage to show “we accept women!” only to have her doing announcements.
Another annoyance is throwing a pastor’s wife on stage to do a mother’s day sermon. Sure, have her do the mother’s day sermon, but why not the Easter service and a series on Leadership as well? The once a year appearance feels inauthentic to embracing women preaching.
I know I can over-analyzing things and this maybe one of them, but in all seriousness – we need more women in preaching roles to the congregation. The women’s ministry is not the only place for a woman in church. Nor is it as the greeter, or the child care help – women deserve a visible role in church communities.
My home church does rock the diversity aspect. They intentionally reach various communities thru means such as offering services in different languages and continually stressing how we as a church must be diverse.
One of our church’s values is: We are soup not a salad.
We are intentionally diverse, believing that the mix of generations, ethnicities, and cultures helps create the rich and surprising unity Jesus prayed for in John 17.
Youth group was a key part of growing up for me and I had hoped it would be the same for my kids. While I wouldn’t say they aren’t involved, maybe the youth group I grew up with was just overly active.
I want to see church’s reach the youth where they are. Encourage kids to bring friends. Create ways to foster relationships and allow kids to connect with other kids in the area.
What I can’t stand is youth groups that go lazy in the summer. While sure, I get that there is a mission trip for high school, a camp for middle school – that isn’t necessarily something everyone can go to.
When we first started attending our church they offered two services at the same time. One featured a candle lit room with acoustic music. It was amazing, but yet of course it wasn’t for everyone.
At the main campus – the traditional worship music played on. Unfortunately, with growth comes change. When the church got too big, our service was pulled. I get it – but I can’t stress how fabulous it was.
The Methodist service we attended obviously had this mix-match issue as well. Trying to please the masses with worship music, I know is impossible. The Methodist church had a robed church choir, an acoustic set, a worship band and a pastor in a robe playing an electric guitar. It was an interesting mix.
Offering different services with specific worship music maybe the answer. I would go to the 11:30 am service every week if I knew that I could find that acoustic worship music.
The last thing I really want to do in church is discuss politics, that said – what I do want to see in church is current events. I understand when planning a sermon series and when speaking to thousands at various campuses it’s easier to template a service. But it gets old, stale and does not feel fresh – it feels, well templated.
Why aren’t we praying for the school shooting? Is it because of the church trying not to upset the gun activists or it didn’t make the cut because the sermon is pre-scripted? I sure hope not! When thousands are killed, or a tornado hits – what can we as a church do? We should be praying and finding how to help.
Use Social Media For Good
I’m a social media marketer’s dream. Not only am I active on social, I see food at a restaurant and go try it because I saw it on social. Same goes with movies, or new music and even household and personal purchases are made due to social influence.
Why aren’t churches using the power of social media to be relevant with bringing people into the church. I hear how church attendance is down and the marketer in me is wondering where are the churches on social media? Why aren’t we encouraged to tweet a message, use a hashtag, instagram a moment? Times are different now and social media reaches people.
Would Jesus have an Instagram account if he were alive today? I would think he would, but even if he didn’t – his followers would.
The whole #metoo movement, regardless of your thoughts on it – you have to admit it did bring a lot to light. The church is no place for sexual misconduct – yes Catholicism, I am looking at you.
Sexual misconduct doesn’t just happen in the Catholic church. I was sickened by the Willow Creek scandal as Bill Hybels was someone I enjoyed hearing speak. The Global Leadership Summit, an event he created – was a highlight of our year. It was more than a Christian event, it offered a wide perspective with Christian undertones but not a Jesus blast to the face. How’s that for an event description!
All that said, churches should be held accountable to ensuring the safety of their congregation. Pastors and Priests who are predators are the worse.
Women’s Ministry and Men’s Ministry
I get the whole life group aspect of a church. My husband and I personally consider church time with our group of people who we wouldn’t have found without our church. That said, I feel like there is so much missed opportunity in regards to men’s and women’s ministry.
The other day I talked about how much bible studies for women bore me. Thinking further into this, I was wondering where else in the church could I be connected with other women? There’s the Mom’s Group – but alas since my babies are grown I no longer qualify to participate in the group.
There is the every-other-year retreat which I am just not a retreat person. This isn’t necessarily the “fault” of the church but that said, I have a feeling that there are others like me that are looking for what I am looking for.
My husband is an introvert. While I introvert-extrovert, he totally is an INTROVERT. Nothing wrong with that, but in order for him to connect he needs more than an occasional men’s meet up. The men’s retreat that my husband enjoyed was made into a DIY retreat.
Previously he had a Beer and Bible Study group that he thoroughly enjoyed, but it wasn’t a church sanctioned group and unfortunately dissipated. Sure he could create his own, and maybe in the future I can keep nudging him to do that, but did I mention he’s a total introvert?
I will say that despite the disliking of several aspects of the Catholic church, they do a great job with women’s ministry and men’s ministry.
Another area that our home church succeeds in is hosting church online. Online church allowed us to attend so many times when we just couldn’t. Some mornings it is because there is just no way to get all 6 of us out the door.
This past year, with my husband’s health situation – I hated going to church without him. With online church, we were able to make breakfast and sit as a family, watching online church service.
I hope more churches continue to embrace bringing church online to the masses. I’m telling you people, this internet thing is not going to go away anytime soon!
Day 10 of Lent
Today we celebrate our son Izaiah’s birthday. He turns 9 years old. This kid is amazing. When I started this blog, Izaiah was just a prayer.
Izaiah, I hope you know how much you are loved. Your brain amazes me. That hair is amazing. You are my gentle giant, so wise and loving. I am so proud to be your Mama. Happy Birthday kid!
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See you Monday for day 11 of Lent.
Want to read more on Life, Faith and Lent -> Lent Experiment <- if you want to read all the things.
Be blessed, give grace and be kind.