One of my favorite quotes by one of my favorite authors is:
"I need Christ, not something that resembles Him" - C.S.Lewis
Think about that. Our world is FULL of spirituality. Many of the people you encounter from day to day practice some type of religion, or hold to a certain belief system, yet they are far from the one true God. That is because so much of the spirituality is resembling truth, but comes up empty in the end.
Even in our churches (little "c"= the building) we find this to be true at times. The people appear to have it all together. They appear to be in love with Christ, but as soon as they leave the church building, that fizzles and dies out, leaving them looking just like anyone else throughout the week. Maybe they try to live a works-based life with their lists of "do's and don'ts" and they never quite measure up, so they stay discouraged. Maybe, even though they attend church from week to week, they wait like a helpless baby for the pastor to "feed" them with a spoon on Sundays and never do anything to produce spiritual growth throughout the week, so they just bounce back and forth between two places, never truly knowing what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Something that resembles Christ, but certainly is not...
Or maybe it is the church's "programs" that never change from week to week ( Welcome, upbeat happy songs, slower sad songs, offering, announcements, message, altar time, dismissal) that make us think that we are spiritual and help us feel close to God. Heaven forbid we change anything from that order.... that would no longer resemble Christ. Right? Now, nothing is wrong with the programs churches have in place, but when we focus on the programs and service order instead of Jesus, we have it all wrong. I guarantee that Jesus doesn't care so much about the programs. He just wants His bride to encounter Him. And that does not happen because of any man-made schedule, but because the Church (Big "C"= the PEOPLE. The Bride) come together in unity and get hungry for God to move among them. He moves during and throughout the programs set in place when people worship Him. But how often to we stifle what He really wants to do among us because our focus is on what man has set in place?
My generation, "Millennials", overall could care less about the programs. As a matter of fact, most would find them as quite the deterrent. Possibly why only 9% of Christian millennials attend a church on a weekly basis. This is the generation that is missing from our corporate worship settings on Sundays. This is the generation that sees no need to come and be part of the programs when they can experience God in their homes. The generation whose unchurched likely will never grace your fellowship's doors. They will not come. We have to go to them. They don't want programs. They have been hurt by the programs and the people who run them. They have been given lists and lists of "What Not to Do", and "How Not to Live", having never experienced the love and good news that Christ died for us all to have. They don't need programs. They need Jesus.
The mindset that God will only move if your church service or worship set look and feel a certain way is about as far from truth as possible. If we feel that way, then the programs have become our idols. We are no longer worshiping Jesus, but we are worshiping what man has set in place. That is a scary place to be.
I don't want the programs. I want Jesus.