Many, if not all, of our great social institutions began as functions of the church. Our legal institutions have their foundations in moral and civil laws of the church. Medical institutions were started by churches as places to care for the sick, wounded and infirm. Our education system began as places where children could learn to read the Bible. Higher education then focused on medicine, law and religion. Public welfare and libraries were once caring church institutions. Even counseling on private personal matters was once the domain of the church.
Governments have taken most of these functions to themselves allowing very little to remain with the churches. In the process of doing that they have generally made those institutions mechanically and financially inefficient and nearly devoid of caring personal relationships.
One of the effects on the church has been the loss of community involvement. Because of this loss churches are reduced to being places of worship, places of Christian teaching or even in some cases, places of entertainment.
While it is good and necessary to have places for worship and Christian education, a consequence of removing community functions from churches is that it also moves precious aspects of Christ and His love into the hands of bureaucrats whose motives may not include the love and compassion of Christ.
An even more serious side-effect of removing church from community involvement is isolation, loneliness and depression of the people as well as the loss of the cultural influence of the church. The former consequence can be measured in rates of depression and suicide. The latter consequence affects the level of sin in the community and can be seen in elevated crime rates among the people.
The loss of church purpose has also reduced the desire for people to attend churches, further reducing the influence of Christ in the community.
While church functions are voluntary, the government functions are mandatory. Because of that, it seems the church would be largely incapable of recovering these necessary functions on its own if were to choose to do so.
However, the church is the body of Christ. When Christ decides that enough is enough, changes will occur.
But maintenance and growth of the church are in the hands of the Lord’s followers (see Matt 28:19-20). Pray that enough churches will be sufficiently close to Christ to be able to carry out community functions when called to do so.
Each of us a unique spiritual being. We are born individually, die individually and stand before God every moment of our lives as an individuals. No matter how large a group we are in, our relationship with God is one on one. Therefore our worship and each of our styles of worship must be accordingly unique. That concept is developed and expanded in the book “Worshiping Alone” available on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. If you haven’t read it, please consider doing so.
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