Thursday, February 24, 2005

Hump Day...

"Hump Day" is bittersweet. It's the middle of the week and it's either half over or there's half left, depending on your mood or the week. As a Church of Christ "lifer" (that's not a great term, but descriptive nonetheless) I am used to going to Bible Study on Wednesday evenings.

Now, in the bible, you won't find any reference to Wednesday evening Bible Studies. However, in Acts 2:46, we read that "Every day they [the early Christians] continued to meet together in the temple courts." Wednesday night Bible Studies have always been an opportunity to get a charge during the week to prepare yourself the rest of it.

However, over the last 5 years or so, I have come to just about dread them.

Why? There are a number of reasons, but it comes down to the fact that they just don't charge me up anymore.

To start with, just about every congregation I have been to attempts some sort of "devotional" before or after the Bible classes. This sounds like a good idea, but it ends up being so devoid of emotion and praise that it's depressing and embarassing. Everything is by rote and our minds are no where near where they should be. We walk through these cursory devotionals like zombies.

Inevitably, there is some diatribe of announcements and prayer requests. The really interesting part of this habit is that the people that attend on Wednesdays, are typically the "core members" (those that you see the most and try to be at the building when the "doors are open"). They already know 95% of these announcements because they are up to their necks in these events. We are "preaching to the choir", so these announcements become even more repetitive and boring than normal.

When we finally get to class, the problems are just starting.

The participants (especially kids and teenagers) are so distracted and tired that studying anything with the slightest bit of meat in it is frustrating at best. When I was teaching middle-schoolers I used to ask them for "20 minutes". What that meant is that I only expected 20 minutes of their attention, more than that was just not going to happen. I stopped trying to prepare lessons with any level of complication, they just couldn't (or wouldn't) handle it.

Even if you have a group of people that really want to study and dig into God's word, you get about 30 good minutes, by the time everyone has entered the classroom and is good and ready to get started. There are almost always more announcements and then chit-chatting and more prayer requests and then...

Lately, I have had to just about drag myself to Wednesday Bible study.

I wonder if we should just make it a social event with a decent devotional. Atleast, people could do what they really want to do (talk and relax) and we could come away refreshed and ready for the rest of the week...what an idea!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You talk about your wednesday church nights as an obligation. Is that what church has become to you? Yes we do read in Acts that the early Christians continued to meet in the temple courts. Do you think it was because of obligation or desire?
If you feel obligated about Wednesday nights what motivates you for Sundays?
I applaud your honesty, I am sure it is hard to admit some of these things especially because you are a "lifer". If we go to church because we HAVE to, aren't we missing the point?
We are supose to leave church energized and excited to continue living and showing God in our daily life!! If you aren't getting that feeling you are missing, what I consider, a basic part of the church experience.
Continue this discovery you are on. Your heart is in the right place and I am confident that you will find a place that helps you grow and celebrate your christianity. Search for the place that does "charge" you up!

"...Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:7-18