Is the Church an Institution?
As a Pastor, I confess that the church can be very different, weird, if one does not have a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Holly and I went to several different church services as visitors for the past few weeks and we tried to place ourselves in the shoes of someone off the street with no knowledge of Jesus Christ or the church. What we found caused us to walk away frightened by the fact that God wants us to be a part of the church and worse yet for me to Pastor a church.
We walk in off the street and were meet by secret-service at the door forcefully encouraging us to drop our children off in some classes. What for? Are they going to re-educate my kids or worse brainwash my kids? We go to a child processing place with computers and are asked to fill out triplicate information on my kids to receive our labels to place on the back of my kids for these classes. They split them up and then told us to deliver them to these three, unknown, all different, classes; however, one was full and we were told to go back to the child processing place and find another class–We decided to take our youngest with us rather than go back to have our youngest reprocessed. We arrived late to the service because of the child re-education class directions of rights and lefts and were ushered to the front of the church because there were no seats in the back during the time the pastor was telling us all the great things you can be a part. Holly was mortified as everyone watched us escorted by the secret service to the front. I felt like saying there was no room in the back because you all are sitting there. You must know something I don’t and it must be that your pastor has a huge spitting problem. It was like Sea World where the first four rows are the wet zone. So there we were escorted to the wet zone with our 10 month old on display. People were singing songs to Jesus and during that emotionally charged time we felt God. Raising hands by the people during singing reminded me somewhat of a Metallica concert I went to, except they were holding lighters or cell phones. Our daughter fell asleep on our lap while the pastor spoke, as did a band member sitting behind the teaching pastor. The Pastor shared some real stories and opened the Bible. After the service, I waited with my sleeping daughter while everyone ran out leaving us with the crickets. My wife went to get the kids while I waited in the empty sanctuary. We walked outside and saw a line of cars moving out of the parking lot like they were giving away free gas right after a hurricane. We got in our car and drove away.
Statistics tell us that 7 out of 10 people do not go to church on the weekend and after visiting 5 different churches in 5 weeks I can see why. I am sure everyone has their own stories about the church.
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