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asked by (170 points)
edited by
I can't go to church without getting pressure from the pastors to send my kids to camp or me to go to some women's retreat. My pastor is always traveling around for seminars, to Israel, on Sabbaticals. Why is the church so interested in this? What verses say this is what people should be doing in the church?

2 Answers

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answered by (2.3k points)
Leah,

Here are some thoughts on both sides of the issue:

1.  Fellowship with those in your church is extremely important, and camps and retreats are one way of accomplishing that.  Presumeably biblical teaching would also be going on at these events, and that's important too; nothing says that biblical teaching has to be restricted to Sundays (or Saturdays if you're of that persuasion).  Seminars is another source of receiving teaching; pastors probably need some teaching now and then just like the rest of us.  I think it would be pretty cool to tour Israel and see some of these historic biblical sites.  Studying where things are could increase your understanding of some Scripture passages, which could have a spiritual benefit for you.  Maybe your pastor and others have a genuine enthusiasm for these things and their spiritual benefits.

2.  I think most churches nowadays have too much organization and bureacracy and are run too much like a business.  Everyone feels pressured to offer exciting programs.  As if we go to church because we're bored and it gives us something to do.  The functions of the church include the spiritual edification of believers, with teaching, and meeting each others' needs (including non-physical needs too), and encouraging each other to live like God wants us to.  The 1st-century church accomplished all that with overhead expenses of pretty close to zero.  Take a look at your church budget and see how much money is spent on all this stuff that the apostles' didn't realize they needed.  Some churches get caught up with all this activity and miss the whole point.  Even worse, some churches do all this stuff to attract more people so they can pay their staff more and build a bigger building; that's very problematic.

So take a look at each activity separately.  Will this help your spiritual walk with God?  If there is a cost, is that a prudent use of your money?  If yes to both, go with a good attitude and have a great time!  If no, you could consider lovingly expressing your concerns with the appropriate person (not your friends in general, but someone who would be in charge of this type of thing at your church); or you could overlook the fault if you're able to move on from the issue without any hard feelings.
commented by (250 points)
Joseph, good statement. I agree with maost everything you stated.
0 votes
answered by (250 points)
Interesting inquiry and statement Leah. I commend you for this request.

First lets see what "the church" is. Is it the building? Is it a atx-exempt status we use to get away from an encroaching government? "The definition for a church is a group that meets regularly (Hebrews 10:24-25) under organized leadership (Hebrews 13:17-18) and practices the purposes that are seen in the early church in Acts 2:42-47." Quoted from: https://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verses-about-church-17-top-scripture-quotes/  With that I agree, yet many today see the church as a place where they go on Chistmas and easter. I call these CEO Christians, Christmas and Easter Only folks. Others think if they attend it regularly that on God's score care that will out-balance their sinfulness. Others attend regularly because God says to forsake not the gathering together of yourselves. In that is strength and refreshing bourishment, or should be.

My favorite scriptures that tells what a church really is is found in Ephesians 2:19-22 saying,  "So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the  apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being  the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit." This has NOTHING to do with mortar, wood, nor stone, but it is good that we have recognised places to meet together. The 1st century churches met in peoples homes, often in hiding out of fear odf the persecution of Rome and others that wanted Christianity to STOP...NOW! Didn't work then and all attempts to stop this "church" will continue to fail until the day Christ rerturns to take us to heaven.

Todays churches often try to appeal to the world, not God, and may be excluding the individual. They act as if their real goal is to be the most popular. I cannot fault them as they have huge bills to pay. Electricty, Gas, Water, Trash, Maintanence, etc all add up. Is it right to be this way? I doubt it, but as a human I enjoy and understand it. As an example, in my little ministry I go where I am sent to bring the word of God to those who are supposed to hear it from me. I am pastor of a small ministry I call FRET NOT MINISTRY, and I dod not have a building of my own to teach and preach in. I travel to locations that need music and the spoken teaching of the word of God. I guess you could say I have some of the benefits of the big churches, in that I get to travel to other places, but it is at the order of God, not men, and based on the money God provides. It is very satisfactory work, but at almost 65 years of age now, I wish often to land in a small church building somewhere. It ewill be as the Lord commands.

I know of NO verses that tell church groups to go places for entertainment and enjoyment alone. I spoke at one large church in the city in which I live recently, and it is nick-named the Glass Cathedral as it has huge building and is mostly made with reflective glass windows. I received not a penny in an offering, but to me it made no difference, as I preached the Gospel of Salvation, and led some songs with my guitar and small sound system. I did receive many accolades from individuals as to "how much we 'enjoyed' your service." Either I. or they missed the point I suppose. Not to condemn them, but I wonder what they have been taught about Christ and their service (work) for him.

I am sorry I have rambled on, but I am a preacher and that is what we do...(grin).

Go to your gathering with the right heart and you will come away with more love in your heart for others, if they teach and preach Jesus Christ and him crucified, then ressurected for the forgiveness of our sins.

God's blessings to you Leah,
Pastor Bill
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