I have been attending church my entire life. Everything revolved around that little building, weddings, funerals, baptisms, baby showers, political meetings, community events, all have taken place at church for me and I enjoyed every minute of it every day, it has helped to shape the person that I have become. The social activist, the dynamic speaker, the health conscious person, the family orientated person, I became all of that because of the members of my church, I saw the good in them and wanted that good for myself as well. Now, I have come to a point in my life where I dread the thought of entering a church building on Sabbath mornings.
I sometimes feel drained and powerless at my church. Not able to fully express myself for fear of offending someone and God forbid that I should shout “Hallelujah” and disturb the rest of the folks worshiping in their silent mode. I just feel as if I am held hostage because I do not worship like everyone else. In my little city there are two churches of the same denomination of which I am part of, one is considered for young or the liberal people and other considered for the older folks and more conservative. Their worship styles differ as the east is from the west, absolutely no similarities. The church for young people use all sorts of instruments during praise and worship such as drums, cymbals, guitars, pianos and everything else that you can make music with. They sing praise and worship songs as well as from the hymnal and they try to make it into a diverse worship service. The other church is more conservative in worship style and only sing from the hymnal and only the piano is used as a musical instrument. The service is pretty much the same every week and there’s no variety. Both of these churches cater to a specific group of people with a certain thought and I fit no where in any of those churches. I consider myself to be liberally conservative. I also don’t believe that churches should be segregated by age because most of us are part of a family.
I want to be able to socialize with the young people and share my experiences with them and at the same time learn from the wisdom of the older people in my church. I also wish that any of those churches would try to get involved in the lives of not only their members but also in the lives of the people in their community. It was hard to write this because some will say that the church should not be criticized but I am simply dying because my church is killing me. I have a lot to offer and willing to learn a lot but the lines of bureaucracy are so thick that sometimes it drains me just to make an effort to offer my talents in church.
Mind you there are many people who are quite content with just being spoon fed in church and not willing to learn how to feed themselves and others. Some people just want to come to church sit at the back and contribute nothing, that’s what they think is best for them but it doesn’t work for me. I want to get my hands dirty, I want to be involved, I want to sing without the need for apologizing afterwards, I want to be blessed and bless others. I want to use my talents instead of losing them, I want to feed the sheep as well as be fed.
It’s so hard and discouraging sometimes and I wonder if this is how I feel as a Christian how are the non Christians feeling about us? What can we do to make people feel more welcome? How can we use the talents of others?