For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Why Not This

I grew up in a Nazarene church. Not a big denomination, so you probably have not heard of it and probably don't know what they believe. I left that denomination as an adult, and after wandering through some charismatic denominations, I entered into the "interdenominational" and "non-denominational" assembling of the saints. Now, I'm wandering out and wondering where to find traditional worship.

For me, the issue with the Protestant church we just left and the ones before that isn't the theology. No. I don't agree with all of their beliefs, but like I told a friend last night, no one is going to believe exactly like I do, and it is selfish and narcissistic to expect anyone to. In the last six years, every church we have left is for one of two reasons (sometimes both):
1. There was no place for us to use our gifts to bless the Body.
2. Worship style.

In the case of the church we just left, it is the second. WonderBoy and I are part of a GREAT team of greeters. Love those people. In fact, they are why we stayed. However, we do not do worshiptainment. We don't care for concerts, blaring music, drum and guitar rifts, people jumping up and down on the stage, smoke machines, and roving lights. I just keep waiting for someone to kick and amp and slam a guitar.

Fact is, that kind of louder, flashier, bigger music segment is part of the church culture right now.
Some people say it draws people in that wouldn't come otherwise. Some say worshipping God should be fun. I won't get into my opinions of that here. I will simply say that I do not find decibel levels that are dangerous to my hearing worshipful. I do not care for the "you need to feel good, here's a high energy 'worship' time to jumpstart your happy enzyme levels" style of music. It isn't my style. It isn't WonderBoy's either, and even WonderGirl told me this week, "Mom, did you notice they actually played a truly worshipful, introspective song this week?" I looked at her. "And they ended it with guitar and drum riffs just like they do the pseudo-rock songs they do."

My favorite worship was actually at two churches. One was Methodist, the other Church of Christ. I loved that Methodist church, and if it were close, I'd be there every Sunday. Solid teaching. Sincere worship. You could feel the spirit of worship. The Church of Christ was different because it didn't have instruments, but it was also kind of neat for the same reason. No loud band. No riffs. No one jumping around on stage. Just singing.

The fact is most of the Protestant churches lost me because I feel like they are too focused on being hip and they've lost sight of the fact God is holy.

Our other hang up besides style of worship is a lack of a place to use our gifts. I'm not talking about being in charge or having a title. I mean simply being more than a body that holds the pew down on Sunday. I am deeply bothered by the number of churches whose leadership has death grips on ministries. One church we attended only had three leaders: the pastor, pastor's wife, and the children's minister (and I think she was a family member). Several churches are like that actually, and if a different ministry was suggested, it was usually vetoed because the three leaders couldn't handle any more. When I asked why they didn't let someone else lead, I was told they were sticking to their mission statement and these other things didn't fit into the mission statement.

Here is the thing, though:
A church is supposed to disciple its members. That doesn't just mean a man stands behind a pulpit and talks once a week. It means people are discipled in how to develop intimacy with God and how to live out that intimacy. Living out that intimacy means they fulfill their purpose, which includes using the spiritual gifts put inside them.

If  a church is not equipping its members to develop personal intimacy with God, that church is not fulfilling the mandate given by Jesus to make disciples of all men.
If a church is not equipping its members to use their spiritual gifts, that church is not fulfilling the mandate given by Jesus to make disciples of all men.

Church isn't relevant because of the loud or upbeat music. It is relevant when people find a place to belong, deal with their hurts and demons, develop intimacy with Christ, be themselves, and know THEY are relevant.

Churches that do not equip and encourage people to use their gifts damage the church in two ways: 1. The people with the gifts do not belong, and 2. because those gifts are meant for the edification of the body, if they are not being released, the body is going malnourished.

So, why not the Protestant churches? Worship.

I want to worship Christ in a way I feel is reverent and acknowledges His holiness. I want sacred space, and I want to worship Him not just in words but in deeds by using my gifts and edifying others.

I have not found that in a Protestant church, so I am looking elsewhere.

For clarification:
No, I do not think the loud music is of Satan or even just wrong. I think it speaks to some people. I have friends who like Christian metal bands and find great depth in their music. It doesn't do anything for me. The same if true for the loud, concert type music services. They speak to some people. However, they are not effective connection methods for those of us who are more contemplative.

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