Whose Business Is Church About? 2/18/16
Remember the story of Jesus in the temple as a young boy and how his parents and their traveling entourage inadvertently left him behind? They noticed he was not with the group after a day of traveling and found him three days after leaving? They were frantic and basically said "You scared us to death. Why did you do this to us?" Jesus responded very honestly with "Don't you know I must be about my Father's business?" In other words , he was called to do God's work. In many southern homes of yore, that kid would have probably gotten a butt whooping or his parents might have been so relieved they just said "please never do this to us again!" Of course, this was Jesus. So, there's "that".
"Business" is the word that resonates within me this day. Specifically, what is our business as the church or as children of God? I have seen the big business aspect of the church in its most troubling forms. It makes me queasy. It makes me grieved and sorrowful. It makes me wonder.
There was a period of time for a few years where I traveled singing and speaking in churches of various denominations. From Catholic to Baptist to Pentecostal and prisons as well, I enjoyed what we call "fellowship of believers" within the walls of these various places. I have attended many of today's mega churches as well. I have seen it all from my vantage point. And, while I have my own preferences and comfort level like anyone else, I am aware of the gift of diversity. Strangely, I felt more free in worship locked behind prison doors than any other place. It was so "real".
In many instances the church has adapted to culture because they feel it is required in order to stay "relevant". "Relevant" remains one of the biggest buzz words for the church today. Specifically , my concerns today about "Church Business" in general is the seeming frenzied quest to gain market share. Sadly, bigger, better, cutting-edge on every level, has seemingly replaced helping the poor, those in prison, widows and orphans. I see so much financial waste that reminds me of groups chowing down on an all you can eat five -star buffet. In an organization where many gladly hand over their ten percent of income , this allows for churches in affluent , upper middle-class communities to live over the top through opulence of the most abhorrent kind. Many congregants blindly trust their leadership and are more of the "koolaid drinker congregant" kind.
Many televangelists are blatant illustrations of "big business". Other local congregations can be more subtle and not as easily recognized. If you find yourself feeling concerned about the "Father's business" Jesus adhered to versus "Big Business in the Church" , I would suggest asking questions about any house of worship today.
How does my church demonstratively care about the poor, the needy, the less-privileged, the prisoner, the struggler? Where does the churches money (your contributions) go? Every church has a printed budget. How much is used to help the marginalized? Is my pastor more of a "shepherd" lovingly tending to its people or a celebrity more comfortable with infomercial type promotion of selling "product"? How much is the leadership of this organization allowed to control others? Is my church mission minded in its giving as well as it outreach, especially locally where there is always great need. It's less "shiny and tingly" than a trip abroad but opportunities for helping others, including the homeless and struggling, are rampant in every community. That being said; many are the wonderfully God-breathed good trips abroad to help and serve others and demonstrate the love of God. Of course, it always starts right outside our very doors.
Is my church a sanctuary? A safe haven ? A sacred holy place where God is the audience? Balance. What is the heart of the church you attend? Is your church so corporate and business minded it has lost its "holy" pizazz? Has this been replaced with disingenuous conjured hype, latest fad, easily fizzled out entertainment- driven pizazz? Is my church, like Jesus, truly about the Father's business? Am I?
Written by Justin C Holloway
Type your paragraph here.
I will be sharing recent Op-Ed columns or essays here to give you a sampling of writing in the book, "Telling Truths"
Current events provide an endless supply of fodder for thought and introspection.
Justin C Holloway
Type your paragraph here.