Day 44 is something I’m happy to have you read if you have the book version, but it’s controversial, so I don’t really want to open it up for online debate.
So I’m going to talk about something else that’s been on my mind. What would your ideal church be? When would it meet? Who would speak? What kind of child care would it have? Would it collect money for missions? What kind of missions? What kind of music? How often would you take communion? Where would you baptize people?
I’ve been grappling with something for a long time. It’s hard to find the exact kind of church you want. I’m not talking about the problems that come from meeting with any group of people, like debates about service times and who volunteers the most. I’m talking about the core structure of a church. For a long time I’ve wished that church was on Saturday (the real Sabbath) and I find sermons to be both redundant (what with the sermons we can read and watch on the internet) and impractical (as large congregations of people need to hear very different messages).
Recently, during my great sadness about the churches of America’s abominable silence with regards to a certain orangey, perverted, hate-spewing candidate, I started thinking about all the things I’d always wished for in a church, and I realized that there’s no reason I can’t start one myself.
So, if it happens, it will:
1) Be on Saturday mornings
2) Have no child care (Children would stay with parents and be allowed to make kid sounds. Church will be short.)
3) Start with music
4) Have out-loud Bible reading instead of a sermon
5) Include 10 or so minutes of silence (except for kid noises)
6) Not collect money or have any paid staff (maybe I’ll encourage people to give to our local Christian organization for the homeless or other charitable cause)
7) (To be written later, something about how I’m liberal but you don’t have to be. Something about equality, loving refugees and whatnot. Not that there will be specific programs for these things—it’s an informal gathering after all.) Don’t you love how I post my blog while I’m still in the brainstorming process? Hey, maybe I’ll call it A Church With No Name.
I don’t know if I will make this happen, but if I can find a space to use (it could even be outside, held only when weather permitted) I say why not? Maybe there are others looking for the same kind of informal, Bible-heavy, relatively short, Sabbath day meeting.
If you don’t live near me or aren’t interested in such a group, it’s not a bad exercise to think about what your ideal church would be. Most people are not going to start their own church, but they might start a new ministry within their church, or a new Bible study group, or simply rethink their priorities.
Tell me in the comments, what would your ideal church be?