Lately, we've been deconstructing our idea of what church means. One sacred cow I'd like to challenge is the consumer mentality of most Western churches.
We have gotten in the habit of showing up to a building to consume what others have prepared for us - their teachings, their events, their music, their programs, their artistry. We show up, consume, and go home feeling confident that we can check off the "church attendance" box for the week as though that has anything to do with our need for saving or our own sense of goodness.
But God calls us "living stones" that He is "building into His spiritual temple" and, even more, "His holy priests" (1 Peter 2:5). How does that fit with the idea that there are a special few who can minister to God and others?
Each person who has entrusted their life to the work of Jesus - His sacrifice that is the payment for our failings - is a piece of God's temple and is a priest.
A priest has two jobs: minister to God and minister to others. (That sounds strangely familiar...)
Every person is called to love God and love their neighbor - exactly the role of a priest. We all have something to bring to the table.
The apostle Paul said it well, "When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must strengthen all of you" (1 Corinthians 14:26).
When you "go to church" - when you gather with others who know and trust Jesus - do you go to consume the meal they've prepared for you? Or do you bring your own dish to share?
What has God placed within you that is meant to serve others? Ask Him who He wants you to serve today - and how.
The book Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola and George Barna has been immensely helpful and challenging in reframing my understanding of God's intention for church and areas where we have gone astray.