I have great dreams, wonderful visions and great hope. I get scared now because sometimes I see them fade slightly behind the institution of “church.” Pray that I can hear the pure voice of God and not the call of the institution…

Update: I’ve been posting different questions about people’s opinions on church, worship, etc. The responses that I have gotten, as well as some of the posts that I have seen across the blogsphere have been really interesting. Young adult issues and music/worship style issues are very common in local churches. Aren’t they often divisive issues? I know I get caught up in them. I know that I forget the simplistic faith that I had when I first saw God. When I’ve focused on these issues, I’ve fostered division among the people of God. Do we need to change our style of worship or do we need to capture a spirit of worship? Do we need a young adult group or do we need to recapture a spirit of honest fellowship and evangelism?

The simplest truths are the easiest to forget. I heard these truths from my blog friends this week:

“I asked God, “What do you want me to do…I heard love me. Spend time with me. Spend time getting to know me. Everything else will follow.” –Elizabeth Ruff. She blogs Reflections in Walking With God

“Worship means to “give worth” to something or to “express worth.” So to worship God means that we express how much He is worth to us. Music is a great way to do that, but certainly not the only way. I myself feel most worshipful in sharing Christ with someone else (or a whole group of people), whether it be by music or some other means” –Dave Herndon. He is the worship leader at The Chapel (you’ve seen him at the GP). He blogs at

“As a worship leader (as my profession) I view my role not to simply lead people in songs, but to direct people to God’s greatness, make them aware of their ability to personally encounter Him, and then create an environment for them to have a personal encounter with Him. This happens through prayer, through solitude and silence, through studying His word, and, yes, through song. As Christians, our whole life is worship (Romans 12).”–Dave Herndon again,

“I think the UMC needs to hear the heart beat of worship…We too often confine “worship” to mean a Sunday service and we have wars over what style it should be. But the style of worship is not traditional or contemporary it is life. Worship is a lifestyle. Too much of what we do in the name of worship is fake and comes across simply as a production or show. What the world needs is real. People being loved like they are by people who are being who they truly are. That is what changes lives.”–Jay Hanson. He is the pastor at The Chapel. He blogs at A Spiritual Cup of Coffee

Please, before you start thinking of ways to change the church or “fix” it, spend some time studying your Bible, praying, meditating on God in solitude, and just simply loving people. Be a child of God, not a child of an institution.


2 responses to “Institutionalized

  1. Thanks, Jim – I’m honored to be a part of your blog!

  2. Jim, this morning I was reflecting on Jay’s sermon from last Sunday. He talked about how Jesus “hung out” with sinners, he was comfortable with sinners, they were comfortable with him. He went where sinners are. Jay posed these questions, “Who are we? Are we sinners? Are we religious snobs? Or are we Jesus’ disciples. Personally: What could you do this week to befriend more fully those that need an encounter with Christ? Corporately: What could we do to be more attractive to those who don’t yet have a personal relationship with christ? How could we do a better job of meeting them where they are?”
    I think the answer is right there in your last paragraph. At least, that’s where we start. Then we go into the world as a child of God. Representing God’s love where ever we go (be it church, the neighborhood, the workplace, a bar). Letting God’s love attract those who know him, as well as those who don’t. Be a child of God not an institution. Thanks, I’ll take that thought with me today.

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