Maybe you shouldn’t come to church….

The Acholi use the term “going to prayer” instead of the American term “church service”, but it means the same thing.
The beautiful Holy Rosary Church in Gulu
Let me say, I have never seen so many people in one city attend church so much. There is a Sunday morning service, Sunday evening service, Friday night overnight prayer (think lock-in for adults), Monday through Friday lunch service and Wednesday night healing service…. Church attendance is the thing to do.
Even more interesting is the church “hopping”. Asking what church someone goes to can get you quite an answer. “My mother church is Risen Church, sometimes I go to St. Mary (the Catholic Church) and sometimes if I am running late I go to Gulu City Church. They are all so nice.”
People here switch churches so much that they never have an opportunity to actually connect with a community of believers. Ever-wandering, no one can get to know them well enough to hold them accountable, encourage them or allow them a place to serve fellow believers. Which is actually what church is supposed to be about.
So, sadly, I see many people here dedicated to the activity of church. But church without the connection to other believers is just some activity to busy themselves with, a distraction from the reality that they are not investing time into a relationship with Jesus.
But the Lord answered and said to her, Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”- Luke 10: 41-42
What do yall think? Is there a way to do “big church” better? Have you seen this in other places?
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2 thoughts on “Maybe you shouldn’t come to church….

  1. I have recently opened up about my atheism, but I can appreciate religion for some of its core tenants, like repetition and tradition. I tried to explain this to my mother recently, after revealing my antitheism, and she could not understand why I will fight to go to church on Christmas Eve with my family if I’m a nonbeliever. I don’t mind attending church from time to time, and the overall intent of religion is a noble one. I attend Christmas services because my grandmother loved Christmas and I love and miss my grandmother every day. I attend with my parents from time to time, because it’s important to them, and I love my parents. I don’t require a deity to hand down commandments to force me to love and honor them. That having been said, I hold nothing against believers, just as I’d hope believers would hold nothing against me (thought this is rarely the case). Anyway, I’m trying to get to my point, but I’m exceptionally verbose lately. Atheism is not a ‘choice’ (if you can call it that?) I woke up one morning and made. I was a Christian for nearly 3 decades, not only attending church, but teaching the bible as well (and I went to several Christian schools along the way…ironically, attending one is what initially fractured my childlike faith). I have a LOT of strong beliefs about churches, one of which is that mega/big churches are nothing but weekly motivational speaker meetings. As you said, similar to church hopping, in a large church, there’s no way to foster an intimate relationship with the leaders, let alone the people with whom you attend. So many attend for the sake of attending, because it makes them feel good about themselves, and it makes them feel like better people than those that don’t. Even if a mega church had a dozen pastors/leaders, there’s no way laypersons could foster an equal relationship. How could you equally assign people to pastors? You just can’t. I find it unfortunate that those kind of ‘churches’ exist, because, more often than not, the only kind of people they’re creating are ChrINOs (a term I recently coined, Christians in name only). To have a true believer who follows the true (properly translated, and not the additional things added for what amounts to crowd control) word of The Lord, you absolutely must have a better leader to laity ratio (not unlike conventional school teaching).
    (As a humorous side note about one of my other strong opinions about churches…I also don’t think it’s a church if it has a praise band. If it was written in the last 50 years, I’m not interested.)

    • Thanks for being brave enough to comment. Being Christian in name only (ChiNO, cute term) is definitely an unfortunate side effect of over evangelized and under discipled peoples that I have seen in the states and here in Uganda. It is so evident from your comment how much you value relationships with your family and friends. And I agree that it is much harder to do community well in a large church setting and community is what does so great at discipleship (keeping us accountable to responding to God’s word and to loving others outside of ourselves). I feel like the most important part of those discipling communities is that we get to experience God’s wonderful loving relationship as a father together, as his children. I hope that you have been able to or will be able to experience that side of who God is, and not just a series of commandments from above, because at His core he is a loving father who cares for you most of all.

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