Is the worship at your church stale? Is the preaching bland? Is the music dated, or even worse, boring? Well, if you want to hear powerful messages with maximum spiritual impact, be stirred by spiritual songs, and find joy in worship once again… try repenting of your sin and believing in Jesus. Seriously. from Joe Thorn's blog
Let's be real. If the service you attend on Sunday does not seem like the place God is moving, that might be because it isn't. Just because a well known pastor from across the country (or a local pastor who thinks this is worthy of putting on facebook for his congregation to see) thinks its your fault and it is sinful for you to feel that organized Christianity is stale, bland, dated and boring, doesn't make him right. There are plenty of people who believe in Jesus and have had enough of the rituals and liturgies. Some of these brothers and sisters have left all that behind and found a closer, deeper and more intimate relationship with Christ because of it.
When I read this the first thought that came to my mind was "more guilt from the self proclaimed heads of the church." Now, I don't know for sure if that was the intent, it's not my place to say what spirit this post was sent in. Since it is vague enough for anyone to judge either way, I won't go there. It IS my place to examine the kinds of issues that grow from the guilt shifting intentions of a post such as this one. That brand of guilt is merely a diversionary tactic to take our eyes off the failures of the institution and make people feel like they are not spiritual enough to get the desired response from the service. The best laid plans of the clergy cannot fail so it must be the laity's fault.
I'm calling BS on that.
...but that's not all...
There is a truth to the fact that when we are not abiding in Christ we cannot see Him and enjoy Him in all things. Yes, even worship services. I mean, some people really dig worship services and they seem to enjoy God much through ritual and tradition. Hey, more power to ya. If that is what God is calling you into then you should do that thing to His glory with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. But just because others have been given a desire for God's purpose in Christ outside of the four walls of the building does not mean they are wrong.
I'll be honest, when I attend a worship service I end up leaving with both sets of feelings. In some ways I have seen Christ and in others I'm left wondering "why did I waste precious time being subjected to that?" Does that mean I should repent? Maybe, but for what? Not enjoying the service or for being a bad steward of the limited time I have? I guess that all depends on the conviction of the Holy Spirit now doesn't it? Here's the thing: all too often, church leaders take it upon themselves to be the vessels who dole out sinful convictions. This may or may not have been the case with this particular post. There may have been someone who needed to hear this. It's my opinion that they would have had the same conviction had they been admonished to abide in Christ and not live a life of grumbling and complaining but hey, I'm no professional. Nevertheless, we would be wise to be more careful about who we accuse of sin. We may find ourselves calling what God has ordained and put in the heart of a believer a sinful response to the service.
We wouldn't want to do that now... would we?
Truth be told, if the whole body of Christ were abiding in Him and functioning according to the grace given to each member; stale, bland, dated and boring wouldn't be anywhere on the radar as a description of the gathering. The response from repentant believer and unrepentant non-believer alike would be something like this:
But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.
(1 Corinthians 14:24-25 ESV)