Do you ever get depressed about your life around the holidays? Not because you miss loved ones or have to deal with your dysfunctional family. I’m talking about what happens when you get a little space to reflect and you realize, “My life is boring.” And not that there isn’t activity happening, just that it’s so you-focused.
This is part of the reason many of us find church so boring. It’s why we’re not experiencing God more through the church. Always asking what the church can do for you makes for “good” consumerism. But what works with commerce doesn’t work with Christianity. When you take that approach church gets really lame.
Here are 3 ways you can guarantee church will be boring:
1. Believe your private “experience” of God is enough
Only go to church on a semi-regular basis. Find the music enjoyable or the pastor as engaging and humorous, but tell yourself that you don’t really need the church. Don’t ask to have your relationship with God confirmed or even challenged. Take care of it on your own.You’re there for some aspect of the service. Maybe, it’s the worship band or the sermon.
2. Pick and choose which aspects of the church are “for you”
Look at the church as a vendor of religious goods and services, like a spiritual cafeteria. Go for the worship, but don’t even consider serving in the children’s ministry (even if you put your kids in it). Or serve occasionally on the weekend, but ignore the encouragements to get into a small group (even if the pastors talk about it all the time).
3. Stay committed only as long as your needs are met
Stretch the semantic range of “committed” to include “critical.” Go back and forth between a couple of churches. Pay clear attention to the way they rotate preachers. Switch to the smaller church if you’re feeling ignored (until it starts growing). Or stop going to the smaller church (without all the programs) because you’re children are growing.
Oddly enough, when you take this approach to church, you’re actually being a poor consumer. The counterintuitive nature of the gospel is that you only gain by losing yourself. It actually goes better for you when you’re asking: what can I do for the church?
When you acknowledge that it’s not about you, church stops being so boring. You end up experiencing more of God. Yeah, things get challenging and messy. Yeah, you get tired. But you discover that church is more exciting. Instead of trying to maintain your low-hassle lifestyle, you lay it down. And as you stop trying to control things, you get to witness God powerfully work in the people around you. And they actually get to see the work going on inside of you.