Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What are we doing?

I recently read this book by Jim Henderson and Matt Casper called "Jim & Casper Go to Church". Jim is a former pastor/author/house painter, while his friend Casper is an atheist. They went to church together to try to evaluate what is going on today in the American church.

While the opinions they offer are only snapshots of single moments in the lives of the congregations they visited, there were enough common elements to their visits to make me take notice. Those of us in ministry very rarely attend another church as a visitor. Because of that, I think we often lose the sense of how what we are doing in our gatherings is seen by those who are visiting. Casper's perspectives on some of what many in America see as the best of the best churches is very eye opening.

He often asks Jim a question that I think everyone serving in any type of church leadership capacity should ask themselves from time to time: "Is this what Jesus told you guys to do?" Both in large and small churches, from big budgets to small ones, Casper wondered if what was going on in Sunday morning services was really what Jesus was all about. Are "worship services" really reflecting the heart of our Savior? Is the way we "do church" really helping people learn to "be the church"?

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