I suppose I should sum this up.

I have been thinking about this all week and have read some really interesting posts here and, in light of the Uganda blogger trip, here.  You can find tons of discussion about the church everywhere in the blogosphere.  But here’s my conclusion.

It’s all about Jesus.  Or rather, it should be all about Jesus.

I don’t necessarily want to focus so much on the church we visited and what I wrote about in my last post about this subject.  I’m sure there are really great things going on there.  The children’s wing was awesome and I think it’s FABULOUS that they offer valet parking for single moms.  But let’s keep the main thing the main thing.  It’s about having a relationship with Jesus Christ and living a life of obedience to Him.  Whether you have a church the size of a small city or you have a church that could fit in my living room, if people are being taught and discipled to have a dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ, then who am I to say you are doing it the wrong way?  While I may disagree with having an “entertainment” mentality and the way in which financial resources are spent, I understand why some churches are the way they are.  And while there are flaws in all churches everywhere, that doesn’t mean they aren’t being led of God.   A wise friend told me just this week – there really is no formula.  But there is the Holy Spirit.  If a church is being led of the Holy Spirit, I have to trust that His work is being done. 

But that’s what bothered me so much about the megachurch I visited.  The worship was loud, the video announcements were a turn-off to me, and the whole production feel of the service was definately not my thing.   But really, the thing that stood out the most in my mind is that I don’t remember hearing the name of Jesus said more than once.  My spirit grieved.  I’m sure they have the name of Christ in their mission statement, but I didn’t hear it much on Sunday morning.

One thing I didn’t mention about this church we visited is that they are currently doing a series called, “Think-Be-Do.”  The premise is that before we can live the life we want to live, we must think it first.  This positive thinking then transforms our lives so that we become that person and then, consequently, the actions follow.  This is my understanding of the message based on my one visit.  While I  realize I have not heard the entire series, just based on what I heard, this sounds extremely humanistic.  Where is Jesus?  I may not agree with the way some churches do things, but I could overlook a lot if people were coming to Christ each week and it was obvious He was the center of life at the church.

My understanding of the mandate given by Jesus was not to just preach about godliness, postive thinking, and good, moral living.  He is the only way to the Father.  Not my good life.  Not my good thoughts.  Not my nice smile and friendly manner.  I am, of course, not advocating living immoral lives.  What I’m saying is that I have an uncle who lives a more godly life than some Christians I know, but he does not have a relationship with Jesus.  Is he saved?  I don’t think so, at least not yet.  Moral living apart from a relationship with Christ is just that.  Moral living. 

By definition, I go to what would be considered a megachurch.   We have approximately 2,000 in attendance on a typical Sunday.  But I’ve never thought of my church as a megachurch.  This experience has made me appreciate my pastor and church leadership in a new way.  I sing on the worship team and, consequently, have a somewhat different perspective of what happens on a Sunday morning.  We do have what’s called a production order that spells out what will happen in each service.  But I know that, at any time, our pastor, worship leader, and other church staffers would be willing to scrap it all if the Holy Spirit said otherwise.  And He has.  And they have submitted to His leading.  No matter what our pastor preaches about, it seems to always come down to the person of Jesus.  There is an opportunity at every service to commit your life to Christ and almost every Sunday, people come into the Kingdom of Light.  It makes me tear up just thinking of that.  People coming to know Christ every week.  While I know our church is not perfect and has it’s own set of flaws, I can appreciate that the leadership is humble and submitted to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  They are committed to keeping Christ center.  Because, contrary to the lyrics of a popular children’s song, Jesus is what it’s all about.

I truly don’t want to come off as being judgemental.  That’s not my heart, at all.  I’m just trying to sort through this experience myself.  This is a rather hot topic and I’m interested to know what people think.  Comments?  Thoughts?