I think a lot about this question.
Having lived with a Sunday-neutral attitude for much of my life, I know full well the space of an uncommitted Sunday. For those free of labor, Sunday is a designer day. It is a time to take seriously personal things and intentionally enjoy themusually far away from people. For some, this even includes exploring faith away from people.
So why muddy the waters of faith by gathering with other people?
As you might imagine, I have a holster full of answers, but I offer one that I find at the heart of my own experience: a community of believers helps me resist the urge to so personalize faith that it ceases to be faith. There is a necessary, valuable place for personalizing faith. Prayer should be personal and ripe with valued images close to your heart. Bible reading should occur with a translation that assists you in the search for God. It is fine to have favorites in the faith: music, habits, authors, even preachers. Individualism has its place.
But holding on to the best, private favorites does not deliver me from a temptation as old as the Garden: I have a deep interest in making God about me. I am not alone in this. I hear my share of theology that is more designer faith than Christian theology. What I hear are the ideas of people bending God to their will, personalizing Him until he is almost unidentifiable. What I hear is life is short as justification for doing everything a person can possibly do with a 168-hour week to enjoy life but leaving unexplored the call to deny self, take up a cross, and follow.
Truth is, you and I cannot be trusted to be alone too long. This community of believers consistently reveals the illusions I live under in my own personalized faith. Bible studies and discussions over coffee illuminate my faith, often revealing how my deep flaws show up in faith flaws. The friends that follow Jesus with me in this church do not allow me to make the Christian faith all about mewhich is exactly what my faith becomes when I cut myself off from others. A community challenges me, leads me, and very often reveals Gods will for me.
Faith is personal, for sure, but it is not meant to be lived in private.
One of the great steps of faith before you is the open invitation to a small group.
These groups are diverse, of course, but they all serve one purpose: study and community. Bible study is quite interesting in a group, and it is an encouraging note to hear that your struggles are the struggles of all. It is far too easy to live in a private corner of the church. Come out, join us:
Join US for this stellar treatment of a central person in the faith Children/adults welcome.
One-Day Witnessing Workshop
March 24 9 AM 1:30 PM
Learn how to share your faith at this one-day event at Ghent Baptist Church. Questions? Call Graham Reynolds.
We are only weeks away from Easter, so please open your calendar for Good Friday, April 6. Our church hosts the community Good Friday service this year at 12:10 PM. We want to be present and serving our guests on this special day of worship.
Oneida Mission Trip: April 20-21
See Jim Stephenson for details.