Every denomination and type of church usually has at least one weekend service–a time to relate to God.
The recipe for each service contains the following ingredients:
- Reception time (coffee, donuts, smiling church people).
- The gathering and greeting of the people.
- Music and the singing of songs.
- Prayer time or multiple prayers.
- Offering, time to give money.
- Sermon, homily, teaching, preaching, Sunday school.
- Response time, prayer, alter calls.
- Dismissal to lunch, potlucks or potato salad.
Now if you add to this:
- Mid-week services.
- Community groups, home groups, life groups, care groups.
- Outings, retreats, or other types of meetings.
…then you have the recipe for how modern religious people relate to God and each other. It’s a culturally contrived process. It’s traditional. It’s not biblically required.
It’s just like what Paul was facing when he was changing how he practiced his faith from devout Jew to follower of Jesus. He said in Acts 24:14 that he was worshiping the God of their fathers “according to the Way” which the religious people called a sect.
Paul was relating to God in a new way. New paradigms. New practice. New ideas that replaced old ones.
Same God. New way of relating.
The new way was liberating. He was now free to worship in authenticity, not by external form and perfunctory function. Obedience was out of love now, not duty.
The Church had replaced the process. So what happened?