I recently came across a depiction of “church” that astounded me. I place church in quotations because I am quite sure that the people who depicted it this way have no idea of what the real church is. There are enough misconceptions in the world, so let’s try to clear this one up.
The depiction I saw painted “church” as a self-serving, over-bearing, nosy organization greedy for money. If this is what people really think or are seeing in their world, then it’s no wonder this nation is moving away from so-called organized religion. But, you see, I didn’t say moving away from God, because for that, there is no excuse. It isn’t God’s fault that people get the concept wrong or practice indecently in his name. God is not an organized religion, and neither is the church for that matter.
The church is a group of like-minded individuals who gather together to build each other up and glorify God. That’s it. Period. Church isn’t a building, an organization or a business. Any such representation should automatically flash mental red lights at you. While there are rules for godly living, and therefore expected rules of conduct within this body of people, these rules are not intrusive, invasive or self-serving. We, as the church, use our noses mostly to lead us to our potluck meals, not to stick in other people’s business. Which brings us to the worst misconception (in my opinion): the greedy aspect. The church does need a place to worship and any gathering of people has needs that must be met financially to maintain that building or space in comfort. The church should never profit from donations, have huge coffers of money, or beg for or solicit money beyond what is needed for continued meeting. Anything above that need should be given back to others in need. Any money collected should be given from the heart out of what we feel we’ve been blessed with, not what we’ve been guilted into.
If your experience with a church isn’t a God centered, loving, non-confrontational, friendly gathering of nice people who are just happy to see you; if they do a credit check at the door or make you feel like an entrance fee is mandated; if you feel like they want your money more than they want you (or anywhere near that concept)—RUN, DON’T WALK to the nearest exit. Don’t give up on church, give up on that “church” and keep looking for the real deal.
There will always be people out there trying to scam you, take advantage of you, take your money, and serve themselves. That isn’t THE church.
“Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship.” “All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.” Acts 2:41-42, 44-46