The other day I asked my 2 year old daughter, "Do you know what daddy does for work?" She thought intently for a moment and then with a 'eureka-type' expression blurted, "You go to the church building!"(she loves the church building because of the toys in the nursery) "That's right" I said. "And what does daddy do there?" She replied, "You play!"
I was devastated. All my daughter thinks I do all day is play. But then it occured to me that in her world, that's what the church building is all about - playing. There's no corporate worship, there is no preaching of the gospel, there is no fellowship, there is no counseling, no administration, no serving, no prayer - there's only playing. Why else would you go to the church building? And then it occured to me that her experience had completely shaped her perspective. And her perspective shaped her view of me and the Church.
I wonder what your perspective is of the Church? How has your experience shaped that perspective? Is Church a once a week gathering or a vibrant 24/7 community? Is it irrelevant to daily life or is it the hope of the world?
I have found that our experience can ruin our perspective and can be very dangerous to how we live in the present and hope for the future. You see, experience is often contradictory to the Word of God. For example, we can receive prayer for our sickness and not get healed and have that experience shape our view on whether or not God heals. Or we can look at the Church and see where it has let people down and has let you down and that experience can ruin your perspective of the Church. The Bible says that the Church is the precious bride of Christ. The Bible says that the Church is God's one and only plan to administer and proclaim the message of salvation. God has high hopes for the Church. How can we disregard the Church knowing God feels that way? Well, we've had some bad experiences. But my prayer is that we don't allow our experience to fog our view of truth. May we learn through the power of the Holy Spirit to allow God's word to shape our perspective more than our experiences.