|Posted on July 7, 2014 at 9:20 AM|
“No, of course not!” – that’s most likely the knee-jerk response to this question. How does anybody even dare asking that?
Well, let’s take a closer look. I even go as far to say that most churches ARE religious clubs.
Just for the record: That is not altogether a bad thing. It only becomes bad when this is all there is to it.
Most church-goers are middle class people, at least in western industrial nations. Lots of them have their own families. And this is how the usual church bulletin looks like: groups for mothers with kids, choir meetings, outdoor events, meditation, retreats, youth activities, and the like. If your church is evangelical, you might add Bible studies and vacation Bible school. Sometimes you have missionaries reporting from their service and collecting funds – which reminds me of those rich ladies doing something charitable while having a copious dinner in their expensive clothes and jewelry. No, it is not a bad thing to report from missions, but the mindset that might be behind it could be.
Now think of all those activities – as good and nice as they are, why would you need a church for that? “But Bible studies are different!” you might object. Yes, they are – but then again, thinking of the many sermons I have heard in the past and some of the Bible studies I attended I dare say that – as well-motivated as they might have been – they sounded more like Christian wellness to me than food for the soul that makes your heart burn with passion for Jesus so that you stand up, leave everything behind and follow Him.
Is our church really so different from a religious club? A club with a religious background where we go to in order to have some common activities and at best do a little social stuff too?
Isn’t the truth more like this: The radical call for discipleship that Jesus issued has somewhat cooled down to a social meeting with a spiritual touch that helps the members feel better about themselves? Instead of “being church”, we “go to church”. Instead of following Him at all costs and with an undivided heart we do what feels good to us. We are looking more for a social activities club, a therapeutic group to talk about our mental problems, an organization that helps us deal with boredom, loneliness and a bad conscience?
I am not out to play the blame game or look down on anybody. My point is to think about what we are doing and where we are going. If we somehow forgot about the Great Commission and the Great Commandment on the way or watered it down a lot.
Someday we might think back at our lives and give everything to go back and do things differently. How about we do that now.