The second session on Saturday morning led off with more songs and hymns again led by Scott Young which were just as moving as the day before. Bean and Bailey performed again and it was a great way to open day two.
Taylor Walling gave the first lesson of the day and the message was simple: church services aren't meant for our personal entertainment. Maybe we didn't sing your favorite songs. Maybe the preacher gave a lesson he had given before, and it wasn't as good as the first time you heard it. Maybe the prayer went too long. Maybe you didn't get to sit in 'your' seat. His message: church services aren't for our entertainment. We don't get to 'Like' certain parts of church services like we do on Facebook. We are there to worship and praise God. The message was even more powerful because it came from a young(er) person's perspective. Taylor was able to weave his experiences with those of our younger church generation. Had the message been delivered by a veteran church-goer I'm not sure it would have been received as well as it was coming from Taylor.
Too often our youth members (and not so youth members) expect to be entertained. They have what seems to be a limitless amount of television channels, radio stations, apps, social media outlets, and text messages at their fingertips so when they come to church they claim to be bored or not entertained. Well, that's too bad. Entertainment was/is not the meaning or purpose of worship. When we come with a self-gratifying attitude we are completely missing the point of worship. We must come together for the edification of each other, not for entertaining ourselves.
After more songs led by Scott Young, Jeff Walling spoke to the group. Jeff is Taylor's father and their messages were magnificent and resounded deep within me. Jeff gave a brief history lesson about the Churches of Christ and how they were formed. He made it clear that most of the churches today were a product of some kind of split in a church. He talked about the belief most Churches of Christ have in common: We speak where the Bible speaks, we are silent where the Bible is silent, and above all we are to love one another.
Church of Christ members, he said, do a a great job of speaking where the Bible speaks but then we tell people they are wrong where the Bible is silent. That message hit home for me in a profound way. Growing up I recall most of the veteran church members could recite the key Bible verses without so much as a hesitation. They knew when to speak and were proud they could quote scriptures to make their points. That is a gift I don't have. I can't win a spiritual argument by quoting scriptures. I'm not really sure anyone can 'win' a spiritual argument any way, but if you do find yourself in one being able to quote scripture probably doesn't hurt. Being able to quote scriptures without being able to articulate the intent would be like bringing an unloaded gun to a gun fight. You can throw the gun but it probably won't produce the desired outcome.
The part about being silent where the Bible is silent really stuck with me though. Many times our brothers and sisters speak where the Bible is silent and that made me start to wonder. Why do so many church members have a problem with PowerPoint slides? Praise music? Instruments? And many other issues the Churches of Christ have encountered.
I don't recall anywhere in the Bible where electricity is discussed, yet, every church I've attended had electricity. No one seems to have an issue with that in church. Especially Sister Smith (not a real lady) when she wants the air conditioner turned up or down or the heater blasting at 80* to make her more comfortable. I don't recall the Bible stating that only hymns could be used during worship and praise songs were not allowed. Does it state anywhere that a church can't meet in a gymnasium? Where does the Bible stand on meals in the basement? Does the Bible even mention having a basement? It makes me think, are these just personal preferences or is it scriptural? Maybe that's a rhetorical question?
Following up on our teenage mini-series, our young friend coming out of rehab has now sought counseling from a few men and they are helping guide him to a path of a better life. One counselor is helping him deal with the physical addictions he struggles with while the other leads him through the Bible.
The two girls in this series are also struggling with their own Christianity. One girl is angry that the church is not doing more for people and she seems to think Christians are somewhat hypocritical. She seems ready to abandon the church and nothing is going to convince her otherwise. The other girl is struggling with how to help those who are feeling neglected by the church. She understands the church isn't perfect but she wants to help and is not willing to give up. Their friendship becomes rocky and eventually they begin to part ways.
The fabrics of the three teens which once were connected are starting to become frayed. Each has taken their own path and now are struggling with life's questions and what they want from the church. Only time will tell if they can again weave their stories together.
Tomorrow will be the third installment of this four day blog series. I hope you come back to take a look at how day two of Winterfest concluded and to see how the teens' lives took drastically different paths.