We live in a unique time in our culture- which is not unlike other times that have brought a deep sense of urgency. I remember clearly this sense of urgency, mixed with despair when 9-11 occurred. Churches were experiencing an increase in attendance, but after three short months attendance leveled off suggesting a return to a more apathetic view of church, and its relevance within our culture. Paul suggests a similar view in 2 Tim 4:3 where he writes, "for a time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers: and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables."
The idea of relevance in regard to the Church is more important than ever. If the general attitude in our culture is that church is only relevant when crisis issues are upon us, or when personal emergencies require attention, then we are not seeing what Jesus wanted the Church to be. The Church means many things to us and we must not fail to recognize its importance within our lives and the culture around us.
First, there is a biblical reason for the church, Christ is committed to the church. "Christ loved the church and He gave His life for it." Ephesians 5:25
Second, there is a cultural reason for the Church. It is an antidote to the current consumer mentality in our society.
The Church swims against the current trend of American "consumer religion". Our dedication to the Church is not in any sense a duty, but an opportunity no matter where the gospel is being taught, to find our way to experience a connection with God the Father, and God the Son, through God the Holy Spirit. In this way we fulfill what God has always desired- a relationship with us that is real and personal.
Let all those who see the Church for any other reasons, be challenged to not blame God for how man can sometimes represent the Church.
I look forward to seeing you, in church!