What has become of the church we knew and what is going on with the church today?
For centuries, until the last half of the 20th century, people could experience the life of the church, all in one place, at one time. This was my experience: great architecture of a building near-ish to my neighborhood; great music; great liturgy, hymns, preaching (mostly); great services, activities, and community. My home church was the center of our lives, both at church and via activities of members away from campus. This was a fantastic fortress of truth, grace, and stability; an authentic and enduring refuge. That was then.
But over the past 50 years, the general population has moved away (or most recently just walked away) from this experience. Now, church is a fragmentation of components and people. One church has great architecture and music but not liturgy or preaching. Another church has good preaching but none of the other components. Another has great community, but is lacking otherwise. If we visit the seven nearest churches we can experience what once was, but it takes seven Sundays and a lot of driving.
I am not complaining.
What is happening, especially since Covid, seems to be pushing the actual body of Christ—the invisible church, the communion of regenerate souls who remain in the Word—back to what is more like what we read about in Acts. Instead of experiencing the life of the church in one place at one time once a week, now we need to find those inspiring components in the course of our days, all week long. What architecture and sights are surrounding us? Where are those sermons that actually and faithfully expound on the readings for the day? They are now abundantly available via YouTube, podcasts, etc. Good music is also abundantly available to stream all week long—at home, in the car, on walks, during commutes. Texting makes it easy to meet up in small groups (not to mention the “meet up” app) at a moment’s notice in any location that works—parks, coffee shops, libraries. Most of all, the Word of the Lord is more available than ever, so that we can actually live awash (baptized) in it, as Jesus taught and intends us to (John 8:31ff).
This is not a time to be disappointed or depressed, though nostalgia is understandable. Now is a time to be excited and active at discovering the body of Christ, engaging, gathering, and thriving.
2 thoughts on “What’s going on with the church today?”
Good observation Mike.
This is true in some cases, but to many people are saying home and watching church on TV. People don’t get together and talk anymore, just text.