Each element of the service has been carefully thought out and replicated in churches all over the world. We we don’t want to miss any biblical element. Prayer, giving, Bible-teaching, communion, and fellowship. It’s all there. In an artificial sense.
And yet it feels manufactured. It’s test-tube church. Everything is there while none of it exists in its substantive form. I feel estranged from the people I’m supposed to call “Brother” and “Sister.” We do communion but is it really communion? We have greeting time after announcements but do we really fellowship? Sadly, the longer this goes on the more I feel disconnected from it all. It makes less and less sense.
Manufactured… test-tube… those are good descriptions. I’ve said before that I prefer a meeting with believers that is choreographed by the Spirit, not planned by professionals. I think this is what Jeff is describing has well. This is how he concludes:
I long for a simpler church. I want the church (the people not the building) to direct spontaneous, loving praise to God. I’d like the Holy Spirit to become our music director. I long for life. You can have test-tube church but I want more direct fellowship with God and his people. I’ll take the outdoors over this greenhouse.
It seems that so many church meetings are dependent on people’s musical excellence and homiletical prowess. I wonder… are there some followers of Christ who would not recognize Jeff’s “simple”, Spirit-led meeting as a meeting of the church?