What would church look like, specifically your church, my church, any church, if it ran more like a hospital and less like a church?
Now, I don’t mean church in the sense of the Body of Christ, a Fellowship Of Believers, not the Biblical mandate for the church, but what some churches have become. An exclusive club, a place where if you come in from the outside you can feel awkward, or not accepted, left out in the cold, sometimes, not even spoken to! Oh yes, this still happens, it happened to someone I know quite well, in a very prominent southern church and not only once, but three times! Three times they attended, by themselves, one of the so-called “contemporary services” and NOT A SOUL said a word to her on any of her visits! Amazing!
So is this the new definition of “contemporary?” Come and worship with us and we’ll leave you alone? Not invade your space? Make you feel like you’re truly an outsider?
This got me to thinking…
I’ve been in and out of the hospital now well over 10 times in the last three years, and I got to thinking after my last visit, how cared for and important I was made to feel during each visit. Even in the midst of hundreds of other patients, thousands of medical cases, hundreds of medical professionals and busy, busy schedules, I was made to feel like I was someone of importance and truly cared for. Needs were met, and there was great concern for my welfare before I was allowed to leave. Their focus was to make sure I was whole and able to go home on my own prior to discharge into the “real” world. I was given a list of things to monitor while I continued to get well at home. There was even follow-up by the doctors and nurses once I arrived at home. They continued to monitor my progress and I had follow-up appointments to be sure all was well.
Now sure, you’re paying big bucks for this kind of care, and chances are, if you’re going into the hospital you have some major things going on that need immediate attention. And you could use the argument that in church it’s not life or death like it is in the hospital? Oh, it isn’t? Aren’t churches dealing with the real life or death issue…man’s spiritual condition? Aren’t we called as Believers to minister to the needs of everyone? Don’t we have a mandate from Christ to do all of this unto the least of these?
Sure, we aren’t getting “paid,” at least maybe not in any tangible form on this earth, but as Colossians 3:23-24 says you are to,”work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward and that the Master you are serving is Christ.” (NLT)
In going back to the premise of this blog, how would all of this apply to our church specifically and to us generally?
If we truly cared as Christ cared for and loved the church, and gave His life for her, then our approach would be more like that of a hospital than what we call church today. Each person that comes into our churches on a given Sunday has a spiritual health issue. Jesus Christ is The Great Physician, and he said in His Word, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Matt. 9:12b-13
Since this is still true today, shouldn’t we be modeling what Jesus taught and not running to programs and the latest worship trends as our front line of ministry? Are people leaving our churches still hurting and without the healing balm of God’s Word applied to their needs? WE must be the ones who bring people to the Great Physician so their spiritual illness and disease can be healed.
“Paging Dr. Jesus, paging Dr. Jesus” has a pretty cool sound to it!