July 16, 2014

What Is the Spirit of Your Church?

Recently, my spouse and I have been visiting different churches. They've all been United Methodist, so they all have similar liturgy and we sing out of the same hymnal (actually the words are all on a screen as well). The people are friendly and welcoming; the music is good and at a couple of churches, great. But some seem to be filled with God's spirit and others seem lacking.

I realize that God is everywhere, even if we can't feel him. So I'm not actually sure what we are feeling. Perhaps it's the spirituality of the people there or perhaps it is the Spirit of God calling to us.

I'm not super spiritual, so the whole thing has been rather surprising. But it does remind me that all churches can reflect the presence of God. And I'm not talking about friendliness or a sense of warmth. It's much deeper.

We once had a church which always felt to me as though there was discord brewing. It was unsettling to attend, so I went as little as possible. But it was on the charge, I was the pastor's wife, so I did have to go occasionally. But even feeling a sense of darkness in that church is better than feeling nothing, which describes how both my spouse and I felt after visiting a couple of churches lately, which brings me to the question: Does God Spirit reside in your church? Can people, members and visitors, feel the sacredness of the worship service. Is there a "right spirit"? Or is there a spirit of discontent? A spirit of evil? A spirit of discord? To find out, you might ask your visitors for first impressions.

Again, this doesn't have anything to do with how friendly people are or how good the sermon and music are. But can people easily and freely spiritually connect with God at your church?

This is what people are looking for. A place where they can serve and experience the presence of the living Christ. Is doesn't matter how many programs you have, because if your church doesn't make room for God, it will be empty soon anyway.

Grace, Kathy

1 comment:

  1. We have two services, one traditional and one contemporary, and they have two very different spirits. The traditional service feels very rigid. I feel the spirit of God, but I really think it's mostly because of my husband. I think that if someone were to connect with God in a way that didn't fit their norm, that would probably not be welcomed. The contemporary service has a much greater sense of freedom, and we have really tried to emphasize that it's a "come as you are" place, and everyone is free to approach God and respond in whatever way they feel led. Before we started a second service, I felt a spirit of discord. Some people wanted the freedom to respond as they felt led, and that made some other people very uncomfortable. Since we went to a two-service format, I think it's healthier overall.