Dec 07

So, this morning I went to a particular church in Launceston. It was different, to say the least.

Before I go into it, I’d like to explain what church actually is…

To me, church is a place of worship. You go there, once a week or more, to worship God. It doesn’t matter how you do it – praise, prayer, reading – it’s just important that you do.

Now I have nothing against church, don’t get me wrong. Church is an excellent way to get back in step with God.

However – the church that I went to in Launceston was a little different to what I am used to. Martin did actually warn me that it was a little more traditional than your average church, and yeah – it was quite traditional indeed.

Usually, the churches I go to have songs that the congregation are expected to sing (loudly, and badly), as do most churches. However – most churches I go to don’t sing those songs acapella. The church that I went to in Launnie, however, did.

It was a really different experience for me – sure, in our congregation we have sung select verses acapella, but really – three whole songs? And the praise itself weren’t even songs – they were psalms. Maybe that’s how we as a people were supposed to do it, but anyway… Maybe it’s because they have an American pastor. All that funky choir stuff and all that.

Right – the message (sermon, talk, word, whatever you prefer) was also good. However – again, there were major differences. It’s definitely possible that I wasn’t listening properly (considering the lack of sleep), but it seemed like there was no real points made in the message, and it was more of a meander through the reading than anything else.

When points were made, little anecdotes were rarely made. I will say that there was at least one decent anecdote that I could actually apply to the real world (“Paul didn’t tell the people that they needed the latest CDs, the latest computers, but that they needed prayer” – or something along those lines), but apart from that – nothing. Emphasis on certain key points would have proved beneficial, in this writer’s opinion anyway. At the end of the service, I didn’t feel like I could really take anything away from it and apply it to my daily life. I’m not saying I want more “lukewarm Christian” speeches – but the sermon could have been better, to say the least.

I feel bad about writing such negative thoughts about that church – which included thinking “The 19th century called, they want their church service back”. Sooo harsh.

After the service, the people came up to us and talked about stuff – which was nice. They certainly seemed to be nice people, but they were mostly retirees. Again – I have no issue with retirees, it’s just that most of the congregations I go to are new families or young couples. I was the 4th or 5th youngest person there, for sure.

Anyway – it looks like my definition of church needs a little work. I know what I like in a church, though, and it was definitely not what I experienced this morning in Launceston. Still, thanks for the experience, Martin.

Now I’ll just go back to my Hillsong/Planetshakers-inspired generation of church. I’m fine with the odd classic hymn, but psalms? They freak me out, especially when sung acapella. Maybe it’s just ‘cos I don’t have such a great singing voice.

Anyway, I might put more up here later in the week about our trip to Devonport – but for now, it’s comments below for you.

written by Benny Ling at 11:40 pm, Sunday 7 December, 2008 \\ tags: , , , , , ,

3 Responses to “What is Church?”

  1. 1. Rob Says:

    Got to defend my church – can’t help it.

    We sing psalms because they are actually inspired scripture – as opposed to songs that someone just made up. God had his hand in writing the psalms – so that’s what we sing during church. The other stuff’s fine too – we just dont do it in church.

    Terreth (the Yank who was preaching) isn’t responsible for the way the church is either. He’s only pretty new (about 2 years) and has adapted to the way the church was before-hand. We may have a Yank and a Scot (Hobart) preaching these days, but it was a true-blue Aussie church when it started.

    And yes – the sermon did trundle through the passage instead of a single main point. We have both types of sermon. At the moment we were studying Romans, going through the book. That said – it wasn’t one of Terreth’s best sermons, but being half dead wouldn’t have helped any either (I was in the same boat).

    I’d probably be highly uncomfortable at your church too – but hey – each to his own. As long as the word is being preached – we’re all furthering the kingdom.

    Hope you enjoyed the rest of the week.

  2. 2. Martin Pilgrim Says:

    It’s been interesting reading your thoughts on my church. I can actually say, having been in a few AOG churches recently, as well as the Taroona Baptist, that I am so glad I’m in the church I’m in.

    It’s interesting that you only want to be given the anecdotal things, the little things that have been prepared for you to map onto your life. When you’ve grown up in a church like this one, you don’t expect to be given every little thing like that. There is a certain level of responsibility placed on you to listen and figure some things out from what is said. While some points are made clear, there are small suble things that we pick up and run with ourselves. I’ve had it where a sermon was preached, and the thing that stuck in my mind most was a verse that was part of one of the readings, but wasn’t even remotely preached on. To me, going to church isn’t all about being told little anecdotes that I can apply to my daily life (although it is indeed about this to a certain extent), but it is also about considering what you’ve been taught, and working out how you can apply that to your life. Sometimes that can be a better teacher, you medititing on what you’ve heard and figuring out stuff for yourself, than just hearing it.

    And you will find that the God doesn’t actually care how good or bad you sound (and, no offence Rob, the Lauceston Congregation really does leave something to be desired), so long as you make a “Joyful Noise” (Psalm 66:1, Psalm 81:1, Psalm 95:1 (KJV) to name a few). That being said, we should try to praise God with the best songs we can. And hey, seriously, what’s better than singing praise to God with songs that He (God) wrote? This is why we sing psalms. There is a reason we sing unaccompanied, but at this point I’ve forgotten the reason, although I’m sure my pastor or somebody similar would be more than happy to fill me back in…

    And yes, the sermon was a bit of a different style. That sort of style is more common within our mid week Bible Study sessions, however, that being said, they do show up in sermons from time to time. And that being said, each pastor has a different style as well, and the Hobart Pastor rarely uses that style, verse by verse, in his sermons. That’s not to say he doesn’t do long series on a certain book, but he does them differently somehow.

    It’s also interesting to note that I thought the sermon was excellent, with plenty of food for thought. Just shows how different upbrinings change our opinion of stuff.

    But yes, as Rob said, each to his own, and if you’re comfortable in your church, then you probably should stay there. Each church is different, and we all have different functions within the church body. This is something I’ve definitely learnt a lot about this year. We all have an individual role to play, and it’s God’s game not ours (Mr Smith and his chess, anyone?)

  3. 3. Marty Says:

    Hey dude’s check out Acts Chapter 2. Thats what biblical church is.