Can You Find God at Your Church?

It may seem like an absurd question but bear with me a moment. Of course a Christian church is going to bring God into its service at some point but oftentimes he is on the periphery while more man-centered concerns become preeminent. It is easier to focus on ourselves than to fix our minds on a transcendent, holy God who demands our worship. Consequently we focus on our needs and God merely becomes a means to an end. Consider this observation from David Wells in the introduction to his book, The Compromised Church,

. . . Where Christian faith is offered as a means of finding personal wholeness rather than holiness, the church has become worldly.
There are many other forms of worldliness that are comfortably at home in the evangelical church today. Where it substitutes intuition and feelings for biblical truth, it is being worldly. Where its appetite for the Word has been lost in favor of light discourses and entertainment, it is being worldly. Where it has restructured what it is and what it offers around the rhythms of consumption, it is being worldly, for customers are actually sinners whose place in the church is not to be explained by a quest for self-satisfaction but by a need for repentance. Where it cares more about success than about faithfulness, more about size than spiritual health, it is being worldly. Where the centrality of God to worship is lost amidst the need to be distracted and to have fun, the church is being worldly because it is simply accommodating itself to the preeminent entertainment culture in the world. Is it not odd that in so many church services each Sunday, services that are ostensibly about worshiping God, those in attendance may not be obliged to think even once about his greatness, grace, and commands? Worship in such contexts often has little or nothing to do with God.

David F. Wells, “Introduction: The Word in the World,” in The Compromised Church: The Present Evangelical Crisis, ed. John H. Armstrong (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1998), 31.

It may be time to ask ourselves if those who come seeking God can really find him in our churches or if they are just getting a religious form of self-help therapy. When we focus on ourselves and not God we subtly feed the tendency of men and women to make idols of themselves. Finding God in your church may not be as easy as you think.


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