Friday, July 6, 2012

Pastor takes a Sabbatical from Church

Over at Out of Ur I read about a pastor who is taking a three month sabbatical from church.  His goal is to understand how "spiritual" people live - e.g. those who believe in God but don't gather for corporate worship.   The pastor who is the subject of the article is quoted as saying...

I'm a preacher. I'm all wrapped up in the system. From the inside, it is truly difficult to gain perspective. Conceptually, I get why an increasing number of younger generations are flocking away from -- well, the "flock," but frankly, just seeing and acknowledging the "hypocrisy" (among the other issues to which they correctly point as the problem with church) isn't enough; I need to do something about it. So, it's time to get some "perspective." 

I don't know about you but to me this guy needs to get perspective on the theology of worship.  Church isn't about programs nor should it ever be.  God's people gather to receive His good gifts as His Word is expounded and as the Sacraments are administered.  Worship is doxological (offering praise) but it is also a dialog between God and His people.  He summons us and and we gather.  He arraigns us as His law is read and we confess our sins.  In response He declares that our sins are forgiven because of Christ's work.  He speaks in the sermon and we respond.  He strengthens us through the sacraments and we respond with praise.  Finally he dismisses us with His blessing (benediction).  I would hope that this pastor would give some attention to the purpose of church and what God promises to do in worship.  

I understand that evangelicalism with its mega-churches, rock-star pastors, and massive youth programs can be a rat-race.  If that's you, then look outside your tradition.  Read the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Heidelberg Catechism and the Belgic Confession.  Consider that since the Protestant Reformation these documents have guided many to a right approach to church.  My hope and prayer is that this pastor and many others will discover what I have articulated above. 

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