In the matter of a month I have wound down from leading a small group, playing drums, writing prayers and directing communion much of the time at a church to, well, not doing anything.
Now, I go to church with the family and we sit and participate in worship. And then we leave.
There is something amazing about this newfound freedom on Sunday mornings. No responsibilities! It’s no big deal to just be an attendee, and the prospect of no one knowing who I am or that I am one of those church members that can get roped into doing a ton of stuff is appealing. I often wonder how long I can attend a church before the leaders find out how much I used to do and rope me back in . . .
There is also a part of me that is unsettled by the lack of freedom. I want to do stuff. I want to write prayers. I want to play drums. I want to be in front of people. I want to be a leader. Wanting is good, but deep down is it something I need. Am I going through church detox?
So much of my decompression from my previous church experience has been healthy. In retrospect I feel that my wife and I helped, in small, but profound ways, to create a church that is serving the community in dramatic and fruitful ways. Looking back, I grew so much in how I lead and how I use my giftings to worship God and serve others. Yet, what sits in the back of my mind is the thought that I need this stuff. Am I addicted to church? To being a leader? To being in control?
These are questions I do not bring up lightly. But they are there, dancing around the edges of my thoughts as we look to join with another church. I know that I enjoy not doing anything right now, but I also feel a craving to do, do, do. And I wonder, how healthy is that?
God calls us as people, but he also calls us to new stages, some of which are quiet, ordinary and uneventful. I am in that ordinary stage right now, and it feels alright. I need to become more comfortable with it, and I figure that by the time I get comfortable I’ll be called back into some type of responsibility. But until then, my soul needs to learn to live within worship, and not rely on what I do during worship. To live in the ordinary is something we all need to learn as we are called into new places and stages of life, even when we are going through church detox.
For pastors, lay leaders and others deeply devoted to the church, I wonder, how many of them need church as much as the church needs them?
How many of us are going through church detox, wondering if we can have that great experience again?
How many of us are recklessly chasing that great experience again?
CC Image • Vinoth Chandar on Flickr