I recently gathered in my home with a few young adults to discuss this question: Why are we so bored at church? This is part 2 in a 3 part series that reflects on that discussion. You can access part 1 here.
Here’s the reason that I don’t consider “Why are we so bored at church?” to be a good question.
Almost every Christian I know, myself included, suffers from the regular usage of a theological misconception. We use the word “Church” to talk about a particular building, a particular type of 501c3 or a particular event, rather than as the community of God’s people. We know without question that the Greek word ecclesia does not refer to a building or a geographic location; though we can understand why that usage has developed over time. We also know that the word, though it connotes the assembly or gathering of believers, is not limited to the once a week event that is often being referred to. The Ecclesia, as we are, can gather anytime, anywhere and for a variety of purposes.
When we say that we’re “bored at church”, what we might really be saying is that we’re bored with the particular corporate worship service put on by a particular ecclesia. It’s the public space gathering of a local church body. You can access why we’d get bored with those gatherings in part 1 of this series. It may in fact be true that the worship service you attend (or that you put on), is boring; but I think that this is still different than being bored with the ecclesia.
Ecclesia is relationships and if relationships are healthy, life giving and valuable, how do we get bored with that? We all get bored in worship services from time to time; that’s inevitable. It seems though, that if people are finding value in these relationships they’ll be willing to put up with boring worship services from time to time.
When we hear, “bored at church”, we may also be hearing “bored with my faith”. This of course is a discipleship issue. Following Jesus certainly has high points and low points, but I don’t know that any true follower of Christ would describe this life as boring. When we examine the book of Acts, the last thing we’d suggest is that they were bored. Challenged, uncomfortable, successful, confused, empowered, missional; these might be some words I’d use to describe the infant church, but I certainly wouldn’t call them bored.
So when we ask, “Why are we so bored at church”, we may actually be dealing with multiple issues that go far beyond just a worship service. Being bored in faith and/or not experiencing the value of relationships in Ecclesia both point to at least one common issue: that our churches need to be more dynamic than the one event, once a week, in one location. According to Acts, the vision of what it means to participate in Ecclesia is much larger than just a worship service on Sunday. When we make church small enough to fit into that box, it will, I think, always inevitably get boring.