Picture an airport. Busy. Organized. Beautiful. Everything on schedule. People checking in and out. People arriving and departing. Flights announced. Planes landing and taking off. An exciting place to be. All its glamour put aside, the most luxurious airport is not residential. It operates on transit.
Now picture a church. A popular mega-church. With branches in almost every city in almost every country. The one everyone wants to visit one day. To check out the music because it’s been told that the choir is amazing. The harmony of music is angelic, they say. The décor is on point (perfect for selfies). The seats are comfortable. The air-conditioner blows the coolest air. In sum, it’s the number one to-go-to church on the popular churches’ billboard.
Now, what’s the similarity between the airport and the church? No matter how much they are patronized, no one actually lives in these places. One passes through, does his businesses and heads to his destination. The difference is that the airport doesn’t change your decision of where you are headed. But everyone who enters a church comes out a changed person. Or supposed to be.
Some people attend Sunday church services to satisfy their conscience. Some go to fulfil their ‘religious’ obligation and to save face. Some churches unfortunately have rebranded into religious clubs who church out half-baked Christians. Where members go to entertain themselves and come out half-full. Church for some people is like having a flight on transit. They pass through when they are in town. They come visiting when there’s a big white wedding as if it’s a red carpet event that they have come to grace with their presence. People only do church when it’s a corporate event like a company’s thanksgiving service or when some well-known minister is going to be the Special Guest Artiste for the stage.
The church is supposed to be transformative. Not comfortable to the point that there’s no urge to change. It is a haven for broken people seeking redemption not a country club seeking membership and a verification of their social status. A place where we go to and not feel superior or inferior to the next person. It is not a concert where the haves get to sit on VIP seats and the have-nots get the popular stand. A place where the head pastor is a shepherd leading the congregation like a flock towards God’s kingdom and not a wolf in sheep’s clothing leading people astray with their cunning tactics. It is not a museum or a tourist attraction to come and admire interior design and be told stories but a place of worship.
When a sacred place like a church is reduced to a secular venue like the airport, then we should know that we’ve missed the point. When people enter and exit with no change of heart. They call God their Lord but consider his laws as impractical. Instead of seeing the world as transit to their eternal home, they see it as their permanent residence and carnality is seen as mode of survival.
Is church just an airport to you where you check in, board your flight and arrive at destination which has no influence on how you relate to God and your neighbor? Or is it a place of fellowship where you go for a refuel of your spiritual tank? Time for personal assessment.
Josephine Amoako © 2016