Open Book
Light Bulb

why churches do what they do

To our culture church is now an alien thing. Nearly a majority of Americans report never attending church other than on special occasions, such as Easter or a wedding. While a large majority believes in God, the God in whom they believe is agreeable, validating, and non-threatening.

One reason people don’t attend is that churches do things that make little sense to those seeking personal experience. Our society claims to be all about us. In reality, most people float around aimlessly—their attention attracted to whatever BigTech is currently pushing.

The focus of authentic churches is something other-worldly and rather mysterious, un-nerving and even a little frightening: God, the divine Being revealed in the Bible.

Seeker-sensitive churches, products of the late 20th century church-growth movement, do focus on attenders. Effective seeker-sensitive churches do succeed in gaining an audience. Yet the
data reveals they fail at making disciples, fail at connecting people with God.

The church’s purpose is to offer people a connection with the God of the Bible. That connection is possible for those who adopt the Jesus way of living. Over the centuries and inspired by God the Holy Spirit, churches developed practices that help connect people with the divine.

The church gathers to
C.A.R.E. To comfort others, both believers and unbelievers. To affirm one another, not validate or excuse addictions and sin; rather, we remind each other that we were created to be children of God and citizens of His kingdom. To recall Jesus’ life, teaching, sacrifice and promises. To engage others with Christ’s unconditional love, acceptance and forgiveness.

When the church gathers we
sing. We sing to connect with others. And when we sing we can open mysterious yet experiential connection with heaven.

The church
preaches God’s good news. Preaching is not about lights, cameras, and charismatic public speakers. To preach means to simply and clearly share the gospel of Jesus. Every follower of Christ is called to preach.

The church celebrates
Communion, also called the Lord’s Supper and the Eucharist. Jesus commanded His followers to remember Him via eating broken bread and sharing a cup of wine. That admittedly strange rite somehow proclaims Christ in a deep, mysterious, haunting way.

The church
prays. Prayer invites God in. When we pray we make space and time for God, we set aside materialism and self to listen for God’s still, small voice. And prayer lifts us up where we belong.

The church publicly
reads the Bible. We read the Bible out loud to hear the word of the Lord. We read aloud because it was written to be read aloud to a gathering. We read the Bible to slow ourselves down and reflect on our reality from a divine and eternal perspective.

The church
gives time, talent, and treasure to advance the kingdom of heaven on earth. We do not give to benefit any human institution or enrich VIP’s. We give sacrificially to bless others. To bless is to desire God’s best for another person.

Dan Nygaard