The Church of Just Us
They area wonderful older couple, deeply committed to Christ. I had the chance to have a long conversation with them a while ago. They now live in a resort community. So I asked them where they go to church? "Oh" he said "We go to the church of just us right now." He then explained that the nearest church was too much of a drive and they did not agree with the ones closer to them. So, after years of active, local church leadership, now they worship on their own.
I have a hunch they are not unique. I had another conversation with a woman several weeks ago who is just now beginning to attend corporate worship again. As I listened to her complicated story of church involvement, she said with a sign "I am just so over church!"
What got me pondering was that these friends could be me. They were heavily involved in local church leadership for years (maybe decades). And when the leadership was done, they were done. When they were not in front and taking charge, they were out of sight.
I'm grateful I (and Martha) saw something different in the lives of our parents (both pastors). When they were not preaching, they were worshiping in the local church. When we traveled and were "off" and on vacation, we still found churches in which to worship (even of other denominations). When they retired, they still worshiped (though my dad promised and fulfilled his vow to never attend another committee meeting or congregational meeting.... maybe that's for another blog!).
What we learned was that their presence in the local church was not about a role or performance, but for God and for others. It was never the church of just-them.