Someone may ask what the heck ‘Churchianity’ is, because it doesn’t seem to appear in any dictionary. But without any clarification, you might already begin to comprehend that this is simply referring to the concept of the church, the whole idea and its attendant issues. By Churchianity, I am referring to the institutional church as we have it today with all its religious activities, its forms, its patterns, its hierarchy and structure, as well as its belief system. I will move forward to declare that Churchianity is what Christianity has become after nearly 2000 years of its founding. It has become highly fragmented by differences in doctrines all emanating from the same book of faith, as well as divided in the procedures of worship. Many are caught up here and are already neck deep into doctrinal and procedural cultures that have replaced the truth of worship and the true essence of fellowship with God.
Churchianity is characterized by legalistic rules, rituals and methods that have masked Christians for so long. It has reduced the message of Christ to a mere doctrinal postulation and dialogue that many are busy studying the letters and picking arguments with others on what is implied in scripture and what is not. It is the allegiance which people pay to the church rather than the cross, the worship of the upper echelon of the ecclesia rather than the Christ, and the adherence to order rather than to His orders. I remember one time in a church I used to belong to, there was a structure or order of service, which helped the allotment of time for everything. However, I became very aware of the fact that this hard-line position on following the order of service is never the ideal, especially when it is clear that God is leading in a different direction.
In that church, after the praise and worship comes announcements and welcoming of one another. But as a worship leader in church, I sometimes knew that after an intense worship experience, people just wanted to stay in that flow and pray out their hearts and appreciate God. But what usually happens is that a Deacon appears and takes the microphone and we feel this sudden drop from a mountain to a valley with such rapid velocity that upsets one. I came to understand from the Scriptures that we enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. But what do we do when we enter into His courts? Just dance and dance and walk out? Of course not!! That is when we stay there and make out petitions known and worship Him in His beauty. That is the only time of the service that is dedicated to God, the rest is addressing us. But because the order of service must not be interrupted, we have lost our sensitivity. I also visited another church sometime and the worship was so intense and real that you could literally feel the tangible presence of God. After this, we prayed and worship before the Pastor came to deliver his message. But on getting there, people still had prayer on their lips and singing in their heart. He quickly sensed that preaching was futile at such a time when God had flooded the whole place with His presence. He simply dropped the microphone and went back to his seat and fell on His knees. I came out of that service knowing I was in a genuine family meeting with the King of Kings. I was so fulfilled and excited that for many days, I was spiritually high.
But Churchianity has killed the element of sensitivity to the move of God’s Spirit within the church and form and methods have taken over the entire process of genuine worship. Sometimes after the choir sings, you just know that nothing else should be said, even the Pastor will admit it, but because there is an agreed order, form takes precedence. Four periods are most important in any worship service: Worship, Word, Prayer, and Giving. I am one of those who believe that there should be a seamless flow of these periods in any church service and not be interjected by irrelevancies such as welcoming one another, baby dedication, announcements, recognition of first time worshippers, etc . All these can be done at the end of the main service. But what usually occurs is that we spend more time doing everything that has nothing to do with a focus on the Lord, and go in and out of a spiritual experience by introducing unimportant issues. While order itself is a product of a true spiritual experience, we should never for the sake of order sideline the leading of God’s Spirit in churches.
Churchianity is all about upholding the way things are done in our churches, or the traditions that have been passed down from the fathers before. But God is way bigger than any concept of tradition, and can never be held bound by such systems. These are the kinds of issues Jesus had to deal with concerning the Pharisees, yet our church these days are operating in the very same order as the Pharisees operated. In the same vein Churchianity also about promoting the church rather than promoting the Christ. So it is Church over Christ. So in this case we see many churches dispute about the way thing are done in other churches, and boast about how their way is better than others. Some even complain that music in some churches is too worldly and others say complain of old fashioned music. Some take it to another level and complain how other churches pray or conduct the Holy Communion. This all point to the dominance of the spirit of Churchianity in a lot of churches in this age.
Next I will focus on Churchianics. I am going somewhere with all this. Please follow me my reader.