Since moving to Pasadena, Tx I have learned a new game that is played across the membership of our church, Mexican Train. From our oldest to our youngest, everyone plays. The simple context of the game is that you play domino after domino until you run out. I have to tell you that for a simple game it was incredibly hard to learn. It seemed every time I had the rules down they would change.
Why? I did not know that Mexican train’s rules changed every time you play with a different group of people. I would learn how to play in a members house and then go play at the church and find that there was completely different set of rule for gameplay. I finally asked who made the rules for this game and was told that they were dependent on whose house you played at.
(Just as an aside, I have never seen people pray and ask God about the rules when they play at His house)
Church is not all that different from a game of mexican train. Every church has a different set of rules and practices that often are unstated because everyone inside the church all ready knows. These range from how we dress to where the offertory fits into the service to standing and sitting to even where people are supposed to sit.
Most churches are glad to welcome anyone who is willing to learn and practice their way of doing church.
Here is the problem, church is just as much built for the outsider as it is built for the insider. God has not called his church to form a tight group that thinks and practices the same. Instead God has called his church to be a constantly changing body unified by His gospel.
Here is our temptation to expect that we have our church perfect and expect people to change to fit us.
Scripture communicates something very different. It shows that those who are strong, those who are established in their faith, should change to meet the needs of those who are yet to believe or who are not strong in the faith.
Here is the simple point, the church should always be changing to connect with and introduce people to Jesus Christ.
When a church gets set in its rules and practices it places unnecessary obstacles in front of those who are outside of its fellowship. Our goal as a church is to remove any and all obstacles so that we make it as easy as possible for people to come to know Jesus Christ.
What are some odd practices or rules that you have seen in church?