Easy Church

I received an email today from my sister-in-law who is teaching English and sharing Jesus in Hong Kong. Over the last months their church has not has a permanent place to call home. Each week the meeting place changed depending on what was available. Those who really wanted to worship the Lord with other Christians had to check the website to find out where they would meet that week.

The praise is that in May they are scheduled to have a permanent building to meet in which will open avenues for ministry that were previously closed due to their transient nature.

The whole story made me think about how dedicated someone has to be to attend a church gathering that shifts locations each week. It also made me wonder what they heck they were doing to worship God that was so intriguing that people were compelled to seek out the new location each week.

Here church is easy. We have a big building with a large sign on a major road. Parking is ample. We make coffee for you. We have people hold the door for you and pass out a folder that explains how everything works to alleviate any feelings of mystery or anxiety. We put all the words on a screen in large, readable font and often the worship leader even shouts the words out to you to encourage singing. We make every effort to keep things attractive, accessible, and amiable. Very little effort is required on your part to participate.

While I believe keeping things friendly and understandable says, “We value our guests,” sometimes I also feel like making church “too easy” says, “We don’t value dedicated Christianity.”

Is church too easy?

13 Responses to “Easy Church”

  1. 1 nicoleneff April 15, 2008 at 11:19 am

    Wow. Very thought-provoking and well-written. I think it all boils down to the culture we live in. We live in a society that doesn’t see much need to work for anything (everything is disposable, especially when the new wears off), so once it becomes too much, they move on to something else. The problem with that is when you don’t work for something, often it doesn’t mean as much to you, either.

    I can’t wait to hear what others have to say.

  2. 2 Russ April 15, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    “church” is too easy.

    “Church” is not easy.

  3. 3 Russ April 15, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    And a comment with my actual blog in use :)…

    Hehe, forgot to change the website info when commenting.

  4. 4 Billy B. April 15, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    I spent several years living in Saudi Arabia every week we would load a bus and make our way to the british embassy. We would spend time with worshiping with people who had all sorts of backgrounds and stories on how they arrived there. One of the things that has deeply impacted me from that experience, is that when pressure is applied to a group of followers of Christ there is an increase in the weight and depth of faith. Maybe not for all, but when its not easy, I tend not to care about the “small stuff’ a and my faith reaches out a solid anchor.

    I hope that makes sense. It hard to fully describe the transformation that difficulty brings to the table.

  5. 5 Billy Chia April 15, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    I’m glad you caught on to that distinction.

  6. 7 worship1 April 15, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    Hey Billy, thanks!!! We really need a good reality check sometimes. Giving up all the extra fluff in churches reveals some interesting things. Sure, we want to draw in the unchurched and the lost but if the fluff is removed will they stay for Christ’s sake? There are plenty of folks who hop over to that church down-town because they have the big screen and starbucks coffee and cushy chairs, but take it away and they’ll likely go elsewhere looking for some other fluff experience.

    Makes me think of a movie quote, “If you build it, they will come,” ya, but if you preach the gospel holding nothing back it’s more likely they will remain!

  7. 8 Billy Chia April 15, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    “If you build it they will come, but if you preach the real Gospel they will remain.”

    I like that.

  8. 9 Kate April 15, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    Hey Billy,

    I’m glad that my email inspired a blog post and the discussion on the topic seems to be pretty good. I have to say that even though the church has had it “rough” in being transient for the last 6 years, we have had it “easy” compared to Christians who are in China. I am actually getting together tonight with friends who are living in HK now, because they are not allowed back into China because they were having a church meeting and got arrested.

    I have two blogs actually and this one you mentioned is just my funny one, but this one is my ministry blog if anyone is interested. 😉 katielivinginhongkong.blogspot.com

  9. 10 Billy Chia April 16, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Good call on how “easy” can be relative to your situation. I updated the post to link up to your hongkong blog.

  10. 11 alex April 18, 2008 at 12:56 am

    hong kong blog – that sounds like the funny one to me!
    Just had to throw that in there…

    easy church. ya, American church… pretty easy, and VERY expensive – BUT if you are passionate about reaching OUR culture I believe that sometimes easy church works – cuz it feels easy for those coming (for those creating it it’s a TON of work), and then it’s challenging them to chose life.

    But we’ve got to win people to Jesus Christ at the end of the day. I know it’s not too deep, but it is midnight.

  11. 12 Peter Park April 21, 2008 at 6:32 am

    It’s easier here in the U.S. I remember being in that part of the country and going through back alleys to attend church. It was great. Here in America we are facing different challenges, like that of hypocrisy.

  12. 13 Sarah Chia April 22, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    I go back and forth so much on this kind of thing. I mean, shouldn’t we be giving people a real look at Christianity? And isn’t Christianity hard? Isn’t it all about suffering with Christ and being crucified with Him?

    But then on the other hand, I think about meeting people where they are and guiding them. I mean, until a person is filled with the Spirit, we can’t really expect them to want those deeply spiritual things, right?

    So, how can we have an environment where people will want come before understand the need to suffer, while maintaining a fellowship that is dedicated to being sold out on Christian living?

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