Yes, I’m going to do something daring in this post. I’m going to use the “F” word in relation to church. I know this bold and daring thing that I’m about to do will cause some to rise us and try to shout me out. Or maybe there will be some people who will point to specific verses in the Bible and show me the error of my ways.
I’m prepared to deal with those reactions.
Buckle up, here goes.
There, I said it. Wait, you thought I was going to say something else didn’t you? Although, am I really all that off with some churches? When is the last time you truly had fun in church? When is the last time you came out of church feeling like you had a great time, heard a great message and feel ready to take on the day?
Or is church just supposed to be something that you do because you’ve always done it? Is church supposed to be stuffy and boring? How about full of rules and do’s and don’ts? Is church supposed to be all business?
Church isn’t a free for all, but it’s also not a courtroom either. As with most things, when we move towards an extreme, it usually destroys that thing. No wonder people give up on the church – the church gave up on them. All the rules and do this or do that is really just a message that says “we don’t trust you.”
But what would happen if we had some fun in church? What creativity would take place? How would that affect the mission? How would that impact the relationships that are built? How would that impact how the building gets used?
Church does some serious things and should. Life isn’t all fun and games. However, there are times when fun is the perfect answer. The church supposedly has the best news in the history of creation – the Good News. And yet, you’d think this news was nothing more than the legal print for a chair you bought at IKEA and have to put together yourself. Not all churches have a challenge with fun. But some do.
I’ll leave you with a video. It’s a video that promotes thefuntheory.com. Watch it.
What if we took the idea, the main idea, behind this video and applied it to church? I wonder what would happen. I wonder how much trust would be built. I wonder who would be drawn to the church. I wonder how lives would be changed. I wonder how people would receive the Good News. I wonder if people would want to be around a place like that. I wonder if people would see the people at that church as something more than just a bunch of fun people, but people who actually trust others, who care about others and their ideas and their lives. I wonder if people would see a group of people who would be committed to walking with a person through their dark times. I wonder if people would see a people living out the joy that they proclaim. I wonder.
This past weekend I was at a Finnish Youth Church Camp. While there, I was invited to lead a bible study on “resting at Jesus feet.” The focus of the study was Luke 10:38-42 – Jesus visits Martha and Mary. You know the story – Martha complains to Jesus that Mary is leaving her to do all the work and wants Jesus to tell Mary to get up and get back to work. There’s a ton of things that could be focused on with just these few passages – so many options.
Now understand, this was a group of 40 or so 15-18 year olds. My biggest concern was keeping them engaged for the full hour. I know what it’s like to be on their side of a presentation – being spoken at for an hour.
After we read the passage, I wanted their feedback and impressions on the passage. What was interesting, weird, unique. Good insights from the students. We then went on to talk about the characteristics of Martha and Mary, when it was a good time to be Martha and Mary, why it is important to be Mary. All great stuff, but also pretty abstract. I knew I needed something to really bring the topic home for them and make it relevant.
I toyed around is many ideas on how to do this when I was preparing for the weekend. Then it hit me – social media. I planned on using social media to drive the point home in a way the students would understand.
At the end of the study, I gave them time to work in groups of 5-6 to come up with tweets and hashtags about what it means to “rest at Jesus’ feet.” I told them I wanted some concrete examples too. And if they wanted, to come up with an Instagram image of what it means to rest at Jesus’ feet. The kids dove into this activity and really had some great tweets and hashtags as you can see here:
My insight from this experience is that bible study can be fun, engaging, and relevant if we bible study leaders let the Word work and speak to people where they are. Bible study can also go beyond the transfer of knowledge to something else – a way of living out what the bible really teaches – respect for others, learning about God, offering questions, and exploring truth. I was thrilled to have this opportunity to lead the bible study. And I was even more excited to see the students really get into the study and hopefully learn about and experience God in a unique way.