Rob and I have talked a lot lately about church and what a church really needs to be – as a result, these are the thoughts that have been mulling around in my brain.
Some churches are like museums:
- Pristeen halls, polished floors.
- Quiet places of reflection.
- Staff ready to move in and quickly wipe away any mess from something that is spilled or knocked over.
- The most prized artifacts, paintings, and other things placed on display for all to see and be amazed.
- Security devices placed precisely where it allows viewing, but heaven forbid, never lets anyone in too close – they might ruin the object on display!
- Everyone acting professionally.
- You can walk around and see perfectly kept relics of various ages.
- You can walk around and see dried up old dusty bones showing a glimpse of what once was.
- The main point is for people to come and experience the beauty of preservation…come and see how great this place is….how organized and polished we all are. Come find a place to be on display with the rest of us.
- What seems missing is the invitation to come, learn, and go back out and share God’s love.
Maybe churches instead should be like hospitals?
- Messy, busy, always bustling with some life-saving task.
- Medical staff on hand, ready to lend a hand.
- Different wings where different types of healing is happening.
- Some are getting minor injuries taken care of, some are getting major surgery done, some are given comfort care
- Walking the halls you see people hurting, bonding together, praying over a loved one
- Walking the halls you see care-giving medical teams, searching for ways to assist in healing
- The point of staying at the hosipital is not to be put on display, but to find healing, and then be released back into the world. Stronger and equipped to be healthy.
- Hospitals don’t draw people to come and observe. Hospitals are places where people have no other place to turn because they require the kind of medical attention you can’t get at home and without it they could die in some cases.
- Hospitals have to work on getting people stronger, healed, better, because more people are coming in soon with more needs to address. Patients are on a track to get better to be released again!
I have thought a lot about this because there are churches dying because they are too museum like and there are churches who get it, they’ve turned in to a thriving hospital. Where do you want to spend your time? A church like a museum where everything is kept in perfect order but you can smell the musty old smell of things gone by – of time periods dead and gone – of dry dusty bones on display of what has been? Or, a church like a hospital, where there’s always a bustle of activity – patients in various stages of healing but all with the purpose of being restored and sent back out into the world?
Maybe not the best illustrations – a museum and a hospital, I’m sure there’s a better one, but this was the best I could come up with. I am definitely the patient in the hospital, still learning and being mended by God, but definitely willing to go back out into the world with God’s timing, message and direction. I know God has given me “release papers” after various stages of healing in my life with “post surgery” orders to follow as I go back out into the world. I only hope I am able to truly fulfill and demonstrate MY HEALER’s orders for my life!