You all provided some great advice and encouragement in my previous post, I Want Some Answers. An anonymous poster has come in at the end with the solution. I do not normally single out comments, but since there is not a link back to this person, I will allow their comment to represent anyone who might quip this little tidbit of advice:
In my humble opinion you should quit forsaking the assembling of yourself from local church life and get back involved.
I know what most church people mean when they spout this phrase. In fact, to be honest, I may have spouted it a time or two, although this wasn't one of my personal soapboxes.
I am having a little trouble with the intended definitions of the three phrases in this sentence - quit forsaking the assembling of yourself, local church life, and get back involved. Let's talk about this.
Quit forsaking the assembling of yourself
Typically a person saying this is referring to Sunday morning attendance at a particular church organization.
For the record, I attend church most Sundays.
We like to get together with other believers during the week also. Sometimes it is a larger group and involves worshiping, sharing, and praying for one another. Sometimes it is only another couple or just a friend and might only involve food, coffee, and conversation.
Of course, none of this is church. Often the people we assemble with are not members of the same local organization, and the meetings are not established programs of a particular local institution.
Local church life
This phrase would define which church and which activities? I know, you are supposed to pick a team. No free agents allowed. It was so much easier when I thought we were on the best team.
Now I look around and see so many wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ, but they are not all in the same building. Some of them are housechurching, others are at various churches around town.
Is church life what happens within the walls? Is there church life outside of the walls?
Get back involved
When I hear this, I hear someone telling me to once again embrace a church-centered existence. The routine is spelled out - attend the membership classes, join a small group, volunteer for service in the programs.
Been there, done that. What it produced in my life was a busy schedule. I had to check my calendar to find time for people. It was filled with appointments, classes, and meetings - important sounding leadership things. In fact, I was involved in organizing the church calendar to make sure that everyone else was busy with meetings too.
No thanks. I am trying to learn how to be involved in everyday, real-life ways with normal people unrelated to church programs and activities. As I said earlier, I still gather frequently with believers. That is easy for me, and I enjoy it.
It is not easy or natural for me to develop relationships with people unrelated to church. In fact, if I make myself busy enough with church stuff, I could avoid doing this.
There is still a part of me that would love to embrace the cocoon of a church-centered life once again, but dang it, I think it might even be God who messed up this cozy part of my life. And He seems to be the one who keeps pushing me towards being the church in a different way.
What say you?