My church is monstrous thing. It's probably considered a mega-church, even though that term sits in my mouth about as easily as vinegar. There are more than 50 campuses worldwide, a well-known, well-traveled, well-studied, well-published pastor, and worship leaders who win Dove awards in their spare time, when they're not flying to India to care for orphans. It's a wonderful place. But sometimes, I get a little too caught up in it.
In a thriving church, it's easy to allow responsibility for my personal holiness to dwindle, to have others "do it for me." I can feel filled up as I let the pastor's words soak in, or as I allow the worship to move me. During the service, I drift aimlessly in the direction of holiness, carried and pushed by the waves of worshipers who surround me. And I'm intentional and focused on worshiping my Savior. But then when I leave church I feel more of a contact-high than anything else.
Wasn't that great? I pray as I pull out of the church parking lot. I love my church. God, thank you for my church. I'm so thankful for my pastor. He's the best. And the worship leaders are so great, so focused on you. Lord, make me like them.
I hear myself say these words, and I know I'm missing something. I can sense that these are partial, surface prayers.
By the time I'm pulling into my driveway, I feel empty again. And I think that maybe this emptiness is coming from being in love with the wrong thing.
In Revelation 2:1–7, Jesus Christ reveals himself to John, addressing the church of Ephesus. Jesus commends them for all the wonderful things they're doing. He says that they're hard workers, perseverers, and protectors of what is right. I bet they had great church services too.1