Churches are weird. Like really weird. Even though every Christian church in the world celebrates and praises The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as the Trinity and everything that they have done for the world. They all have different ways of expressing themselves and all of them are unique and important for glorifying God.
In a very simple example: traditional churches will have liturgy, hymns and certain order of doing things. Then there are more somewhat contemporary churches which will have lights, fog, the latest Hillsong blasting out of the biggest speakers and all the millenials jumping up and down and screaming their hearts out for God.
Now within recent years, churches have begun opening up and everyone is now more than willing to work with other churches for the glory of God. However (for some reason), there is a small chance that if you happen to go into a church (let’s say Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Pentecostal, etc.) and you mention another denomination, there is a chance they’ll snub it off and disagree with how they worship. They’ll say things like this: “Oh it’s all old! Hymn sheets, Book of Common Prayer!” “They’re so loud, ranting and raving in total gibberish!” “It’s all set out, there’s no room for the Spirit!”.
Tension like that I would like to believe comes from people who may (possibly) have never of been to another church other than the one that they have been all of their lives. Which there’s nothing wrong with that, if that church is pulling you and stretching you to do great things for the Kingdom. But there is more than one church in the world, and as much as we love our own church, we know that there’s room for improvement in honouring God. Now I’d like to think I’m not very biased in terms of denomination, even the list of denominations above is in alphabetical order. But I would register myself a member of the Assemblies of God (which is a Pentecostal denomination), mainly because that’s the only church experience that I have had. So within my early experience of church, in my belittled mind at the time I concluded that this is the only way to truly worship God. Could you imagine my experience going to my first Church of England service? I hated it. I could not stand it, I told friends that it was not true worship. I would be very much against it, even when I found out one of my heroes C.S. Lewis was as he says “…an ordinary layman of the Church of England…” I would snare my nose at that statement. But then one of those friends “jumped ship” as it were and is now in the process of being trained up to be ordained in the Church of England. He would invite me to other services within the CoE and I would not be up for it. I can remember one Sunday morning he asked me if I wanted to go to a evening worship at an Anglican church in the area, to which I said yes but only to poke at all the things that I had to disagree with it all. After that first service, I was rather passive. I said “It was alright…”
He would take me back to churches like these for months afterward and even took me to the Southwell Minster for multiple evensongs at the cathedral and I must say now, I can see why the more traditional churches like this cathedral and many churches across the world do it the way they do it, and I think it’s great now. My friend once phrased it like this and it just made me see more clearly. Imagine the Queen was coming to your church. You would get everything looking perfect, you would want to follow a list of things to do, say and sing, you would wear your best outifts and if you’re serving you would wear robes because very simply, The Queen was coming. That’s why the more traditional churches do the things they do. The King of Kings is in the service, so you want everything to be perfect.
Now I would now hold the Church of England a special place in my heart, even now as a Christian Leader following Pentecostal teachings, I would still go to an Anglican church just for the variety and in some way I know that God will be there too, as boring and orthodox it may appear.
I guess I now owe Jack an apology…