When people join a church to be served instead of to serve, the church's most basic identity is diminished. And already our congregations are confused.
- There are churches that are basically social communities offering great opportunities for meeting new people and nurturing friendships.
- There are churches that are basically wholesome values communities, teaching adults and children traditional civic values.
- There are churches that are social services communities housing the homeless and feeding the hungry.
While there is nothing wrong with nurturing friendships or teaching people to be solid citizens or caring for community needs, the church is a spiritual community in which we gather to support and equip each other to serve the world in the likeness of Christ.
Jan makes a great point that churches miss too often, that being what they're supposed to be at their core: communities of Christ's disciples. The fellowship and service that she mentions, it should be noted, can be and are a part of that, but I think that churches need to be more intentional about thinking about why they do it. Is it because it's "a nice thing to do," or because Jesus calls us to do it?
Kamp Krusty presents something from the Fundy Theatre of the Absurd that I had to quote in its entirety:
Q: How do I witness to my hell-bound friends after I'm raptured?I don't really have anything to add. He pretty much said it all.
A: With this website.
Q: And does it automatically send out emails to my friends six days after the rapture?
Q: And do the emails tell my friends that I got raptured, so that's why I didn't show up for pilates, and yes, you can borrow my iPod now?
Q: And does it only charge me only $40 a year to reach my loved ones for Christ?
Q: And can we edit our own outgoing memos, to say what we really mean, like, say, "RE: Boo Ya"?
Q: Could the post-rapture, auto-send feature fail, thereby sending false "I love you, but I've been raptured, and you've been left behind" emails to the person currently sitting next to me in the cubicle?
A: Yes, quite easily.
Q: Is this for real?
A: It's for real.
Q: And, like Annie Dillard, do we sometimes wonder why God doesn't just blow our dancing bear act to smithereens?
A: Every day.