Predictable Church

Click here to watch: “Sunday’s Coming” Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.

I saw this video on the Stuff Christians Like blog (which I highly recommend as an insightful, humorous look at the Christian life) and found it hilarious and insightful

It shows the fact that in many churches our Sunday experience can become predictable and routine. What do we do about this?

During my high school youth group days, I could actually predict when people would raise their arms in “worship” based on the song and when it amped up to a crescendo (namely, the chorus). Does that make that worship less valuable? Is that even worship?

For myself, I have found that I need to change the way I think from repetitive routine to a spiritual discipline. In other words, on those mornings (or evenings) I do not deeply desire to go to a building and have fellowship with many people I do not know, I do not go to church simply because it’s my routine. Routine does not cut it. I go to church as an act of discipline – an act of worship to God in itself.

So then the songs that we sing far too many times, the chorus we repeat over and over, the message that I’ve heard since second grade do not become another chance to roll my eyes. Rather they become a chance in simply partaking, singing and listening to worship God because I discipline myself.

Of course, church does not simply consist of such repetition – the Spirit works and moves and loves to shake things up. But when I grow weary of repetition, I praise God that he helps me practice discipline. The alternative – I grow bitter and search for something fresh; church becomes something I consume.

Notice I have avoided asking whether routine is good or bad, perhaps some other time. But our response always matters, regardless of whether we go to an ever-changing, shifting church or one that cherishes liturgy as if it’s the very crown of life.

How about you? What gets you to church on those days you don’t want to go? What helps you appreciate a service that you may feel you experienced last week?

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2 thoughts on “Predictable Church

  1. Great question, Mr. Timms. Now I hope my answer will not be predictable. Or perhaps, when it comes to the question of why attend church, the answer would be the most obvious one and, therefore, most predictable.

    The reality that I am part of the people of God, the body of Christ, the Church–who was chosen by God before the foundation of the world, constituted of Jew and Gentile–where there is no hostility because each was delivered from sin and death by Christ’s death, and brought to life through the word of truth–the gospel; and each one is a temple of the Holy Spirit, as we are all built together into a holy temple, and we offer sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, as well as edify one another by the spiritual gifts entrusted to each one. That is what (among other things) keeps me coming to church.

  2. And you did raise a question that I’ve been thinking over since I first raised your post: what is the value/necessity of variety? Surely we don’t want variety for variety’s sake; so why is it desirable? (And this is not at the expense of consistency/regularity like in creeds and the liturgy).

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