How I feel about routines in Christianity

“Worship is from 9:30 to 10:00. Then Pastor Vernon will pray. Then Pastor Joel will speak on Thy Kingdom come thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Then he will pray. Then we will take an offering with soft music for entertainment. Then we will pray. Then we will show a tear-worthy video. Then we’ll pray and dismiss while performing Oceans.”

Before I found my home at Evangel, I went to a non-denominational ‘mega church’ that fell into the same routine every single service. And when I say the same routine…. I mean the same exact routine. The worship pastor even said the same prayer and used the same punchline to get newcomers to go to the connection center. While this routine might’ve made newcomers and non-growing Christians feel comfortable, it made me feel very uncomfortable. You know why? BECAUSE IT WAS TOO COMFORTABLE. Our worship to God shouldn’t be on a schedule. Our prayers shouldn’t be rehearsed.  We shouldn’t have to use humor to get people to enjoy a church service. We shouldn’t need an emotional video to get people to cry in a service. Shouldn’t the overwhelming power of God’s love be enough to do all of that?

So why do we fall into this routine? Why do many churches feel the need to follow a formula? Because nowadays, churches feel that attendance is the most important part of growing a church. Let me tell you something… You can’t have a growing church by “growing” in numbers of attendance. You have a growing church by teaching each and every person that walks through the door how to grow in Christ. Whether twenty, two-hundred, or two thousand people walk through the door, not a single tally mark matters unless they walk out of the service feeling challenged to grow more in their relationship with Christ.

Church shouldn’t be comfortable. If the only time you feel challenged in a service is when the offering plate comes around, then something is wrong. Every single lyric in a song should speak to you. Every single word out of the pastors mouth should move you. Every single prayer should give you a sense of peace. These feelings don’t generally happen if you’re comfortable or stuck in a routine. That’s the beauty of Grace, it isn’t comfortable, it shouldn’t be. Each and every time that I’m reminded of what Christ did for me on the cross is another time that I feel so drawn to make myself a better person for Him and for His Glory. And guess what, that’s not a comfortable feeling!

Falling into a routine can be good in some cases such as studying and homework and social gatherings. But time with Jesus shouldn’t be something that you pencil into your busy schedule. Prayer is another thing that you can’t just do before meals or before a stressful situation or exam. Prayer should be something that you do because you want to feel closer with God, not because you’re about to fail a test or you’re about to eat an unhealthy meal.

Bottom line is this, I feel as though falling into a routine with Jesus isn’t healthy for your relationship with Him. You shouldn’t write in your agenda planner “8:00 worship 8:05 pray 8:10 quiet time 8:15 pray”. After all, Jesus didn’t write on his calendar “Friday 7:00 die on cross to forgive the sinners”.

Challenge yourself in your relationship with Christ. Allow yourself to GROW. Don’t settle with complacency. I for one am not okay staying on a flat line in my relationship knowing that Christ DIED on a cross for ME.

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