We had a houseful of family this weekend here to celebrate our eldest's high school graduation, most of whom left on Sunday morning. Because of the timing of their flights, we weren't able to get to any church service, so our youngest took matters into her own hands. For quite a while now, she has been telling us we need to start our own church. Invite friends over -- take turns preaching sermons and leading music -- hmmm.
So, yesterday, she prepared a sermon and chose some music and led a worship service for the family in our living room. She preached on a passage in 1 Chronicles where David is praying about the gifts the people have given for building the temple. Honestly, I was pretty astounded at her insight into the scripture and the quality of her delivery. Fascinating girl, my daughter.
But I keep trying to explain to her that holding our own worship services in our home, taking turns preaching to each other, is not really a good idea. At least, not in lieu of finding a real "church home". I admit, I can understand the appeal to her. She seems to have inherited my disease of seeing a thing and always thinking, "I can do that" . . . or even worse, "I can do that better." Sometimes, it is good to just acknowledge and use the gifts of others.
I'm struggling a bit, though, to articulate to her why our own personal church is not optimal. I understand why in my gut -- I've just never had to put it in words.
People are built for corporate worship, I believe. It's somewhere in our makeup. Even the non-religious find a way to worship something, and to do so en masse. Witness NFL football games. Fourth of July celebrations. Political conventions. Popular concert tours. You might contend that none of these are worship situations; I could make a case otherwise. We are made to worship, and if we don't worship the only Object worthy of our worship, we inevitably find something else. Sometimes that something else is a thing very intimate and private -- I've known people who hold their families as objects of their worship. But corporate worship is a powerful thing, and it's something I think we are driven to do on a regular basis.
That said, getting a few families together in our home every week might meet that need for corporate worship in our lives, but I'm skeptical. Primarily because of the other objection I have to the idea: we would need a shepherd.
God has called and equipped certain people in his body to lead and guide and teach his people. All we are like sheep, it says in Isaiah, and sheep desperately need a shepherd. Yes, Christ is the ultimate Good Shepherd, but I think we tread in dangerous waters when we presume to have the wisdom and discernment to just lead ourselves spiritually. We need gifted, spiritually strong elders to guide us. Unless we happened to find someone so called by God to join our little home church, we would just end up like Isaiah's stray sheep who have each turned to his own way.
And so, while we enjoyed a week of worship in our living room, we return to the church search next week. Prayers appreciated. I'm weary of this process.