I read this article with interest today. As I read it, I felt so proud of my brothers and sisters in Christ in China, but so ashamed of how I and many other western Christians live.
For us, going to church now seems to be optional. It seems to depend on the mood we are in and how we’re feeling at the time. If we’ve had a big week at work, or a busy day of children’s sport the day before, then we feel like Sunday morning must be a time to rest and we make a decision on the morning. Maybe the weather is good and a trip to the park or beach seems more appealing.
Christians around the world are often killed for their faith. Imagine that for a moment. While we duck into Starbucks to grab a coffee before church (assuming the church we go to doesn’t have a Starbucks or some sort of coffee shop on its premises), others are risking their lives to do the same thing.
While we sit in air-conditioned comfort and our children are in kid’s church, these people are meeting in secret.
300 Christians have been killed in Nigeria since February. And it is only March.
Life in the western world now is not just about comfort, but it’s also all about me. What’s in it for me? What can your church offer me? What services do you have that will help me and my family?
A life of Christ has nothing to do with you. It is all about God, and while we all need to make the right choices on the churches that fit us, we need to keep in mind that it is always about God and putting Him first.
As the world gets darker, not only do we need our churches to shine a light in their communities, but we as Christians need to be in those churches every Sunday. Not as a religious exercise where we are ticking a box, but as a way of connecting with our Creator, and doing our bit to help build powerful, influential churches.
Numbers actually do matter, too. A church of 200 has way less than a fifth of the power of a church of 1000 in terms of its visibility. A full carpark at church is a very quick indication to a community that the church is alive and (hopefully) well.
And yes, I know there will be people reading this who can attest to being hurt by the church or a member of the church in some way. I once went to a restaurant and had a very bad experience, but I haven’t stopped eating at restaurants because of this. Things can and will go wrong in church life, but your life will always be better by being part of a church than not being part of one.
So next time we are tired on Sunday morning from the pace of the western life, while we consider whether we might be in church or not. just remember that another Christian somewhere in the world might be dying for their decision to do so.