Question of the Week: Why is Church Boring?

“And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”” Luke 19:36–38

I find it fascinating how people reacted to Jesus when they met him. Throughout the gospels, there are two different reactions. The first was one of great joy and praise. Every person he healed, every word of hope he spoke, his very presence elicited a response that made people throw their coats on the ground, grab palm tree branches, and celebrate his presence. The other reaction was one of hate and anger. Not only did he give hope to the hopeless, but he also poked the eyes of the religious and tore down the walls of piety built up by the self-righteous.

What’s interesting is the reaction I don’t see in the gospels. Apathy. There is never an instant in which Jesus meets somebody in the Bible and they disinterestedly brush him off. But somehow now, the common response to Jesus found in our churches is exactly that…sheer boredom. I don’t think Jesus has become any less incredible and worthy of a passionate response, which leads me to believe that the problem lies with the church.

I’ve read a few interesting articles on the topic. One is here in Patrol Magazine and another at The Awl.

What do you think? Why is church boring when Jesus is so exciting? Please leave a comment below on your thoughts, or even better, if you have a blog, write a post and post a link in the comments section. I look forward to hearing everybody’s thoughts on the topic!

This question is answered here in this post.

 

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5 thoughts on “Question of the Week: Why is Church Boring?

  1. Church is boring. I am assuming you have thought this or at least said it before at some point in your life. The funny thing is you were probably right. Many of us have had our fair share of boring experiences while at church. Whether it is the jumbled ramblings of an old preacher, the over-serious tone of the people, or maybe the droning sounds of an out-of-tune organ, you have probably had a boring time at church before. With this in mind, many churches now are focused upon entertaining and engaging people through the latest pop culture references and the best in sound/light production. As a pastor, I am inclined to worry about this and posit solutions to this issue. However, I think the main problem with boring churches is not our worship style but our lifestyle.

    In the New Testament, the idea of “church” is defined as the people of God. We mistakenly reference church when we refer to the building itself or even a worship service. Church is a who not a what. With this in mind, I think the reason many people so often find church to be so boring is because of the lifestyle of the church (the people not the building) not the worship style of the service. Countless people in the church (the people not the building) are so obsessed with life after death that they forget life after birth. Many people in the church have sanitized the teachings of Jesus to the point that the main tenets of their faith are safety, security and comfort. The calling of Jesus and the church was anything but safe, secure or comfortable- and it definitely wasn’t boring.

    Churches all around Dallas pour thousands of dollars into constructing better church buildings and better church services but rarely do they invest in building better churches(the people not the building.) So we have churches all around Dallas who strive not to be boring by spending countless hours creating engaging worship services but rarely creating engaging worshippers. Our goal should not be reusing the latest pop culture references or serving the latest latte in order to be engaging, rather we should strive to shape engaging worshippers by showing them the ways of the wild Messiah.

    Church (the people not the building) is sometimes very boring. Jesus was never boring. When you read through the New Testament, everywhere Jesus goes there is a party, a fight or a miracle. This wild Messiah was never boring, but his people sometimes can be. The call for all those in the church is to live a life on the edge by taking risks, loving greatly and giving generously to those in your sphere of influence. Worship styles change on a regular basis and they rarely jive with everyone’s tastes, but the lifestyle of the church should be consistently interesting as we emulate the wild life of Jesus.

    • Gabe – I think making the distinction between the church as defined by the people and the church as defined by the building is significant. It doesn’t matter how good the DJ is at a party, if the party is filled with lifeless, boring people, the party’s going to suck. I wonder then what needs to happen on a programmatic level, if anything, to help create engaging worshipers? It would seem that cultivating and building the church needs to be far more of a day by day act of relationships and less of the Sunday booster shot of a worship service.

  2. I feel like too often we seek for what the church can do for us, not what role we can play in our community to further the kingdom of God and strengthen the church body. As our culture is quick to do, we deflect the responsibility for our own spiritual growth…and then we get upset when it isn’t progressing as we feel it should, blaming someone else – anyone else. If we seek entertainment from the church, we will usually be disappointed when it doesn’t live up to the professionals in the movie/production industry with seemingly unlimited resources and million dollar budgets. We play the comparison game, and if your church isn’t ‘perfect” or does something you don’t like, just go find another one…their a dime-a-dozen in these parts. We each need to take ownership of our own relationship with the Lord and find a church-body that we can plug into and edify – there is no perfect church. And then the church leadership’s role is to teach/equip the body on how to do that effectively and create opportunities for them to step up and be part of the work – not for them to just sit back and watch.

    Also, and I’m struggling through this one, I think the “American, conservative, evangelical church” (it’s hard for me to narrow this down to a specific group) has forgotten/lost the POWER of its Creator. I feel like we have gone too far in the direction of normative, every-day, scientific, explain-able logic, and don’t leave room for the super-natural power of God…that can account for a “boring” church experience, and I feel like the enemy uses this to its advantage. Now, maybe I am the only one struggling with this…and I don’t know where the line is – forcing a production to emulate or conjure up the power of God is not biblical – but, we have to leave room for His power, and engage in activities where we can see Him at work. The next thing I want to do is to participate in a mission trip to a 3rd world country: a) to get out of my cultural comfort zone, and b) because I hear more stories about super-natural activity (both good and evil) in reference to these types of places…but this can be accomplished much closer to home as well.

    • Jared, you are not the only one struggling with the issue of God’s power. I know that I will usually push that concept away because I fear the way its been abused by some “Heavy Spirit” churches. How do we gauge between stuff that happens as the result of the power of God and those things that are shows for the sake of self medicating people? I’m not sure how to answer this and I don’t know how to retrieve this concept of God’s power except that when people start getting involved with the mission of God–to heal the sick, feed the hungry, provide for the poor, and turn people’s hearts back to Him, all for the sake of His glory–God’s power becomes evident and faith becomes exciting.

      Thanks for your incite brother!

  3. If you would entertain a thought or two from a “lay dude” and allow me to paint a picture using a wide brush and I speak to no specific local church. Much of this has been said; we focus to much on excellence in worship, our programs intended to focus us, distract us, when our flesh gets involved, We mean well, we just want to reach folks, get them in the pew so we can give them the Gospel but then we start counting the seats and making budgets and we don’t want to drive them away so,,,, we water things down try to make it “less boring” because we are scared. All of that causes me to loose my Awe of Christ, to forget His continued work in our lives as we start doing Church”. It has been a while since I have heard a deep and emotional witness. Yes we do a video here and there, little snippets or glimpses, yes I can find testimony on youtube I am sure, or watch a I Am Second video but rarely from my brother in my local Church, on a Sunday. it is that personal face to face witness of Christ life among us that is missing, where we publicly share some of our darkest moments so they may possibly shed light into someones life. When we are confronted with someones experience ( we can not debate ones experience) with and in Christ one is forced to decide is he lunatic and liar. or truth . We learn about Christ in the local church but we often do not see Him.

    I have avoided saying this because it my spur a deeper discussion but I do not have to go far to see this working. I have spent a lot of time in the rooms of AA and one thing you can never do, is forget the miracles that continue to be at work among them because someone if not everyone is ready and even obligated to tell you. Now AA does not deal with eternity nor claims to, but it works for them and maybe we have lost a little of what it means to “do Church” I am not sure how one can be bored if Christ is the focus

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