For the last four months my family and I have been “doing church” a little different.
Our church is under construction and the congregation is meeting in another facility until the building is finished. We could have done that, too. Actually, we had planned on going to the alternate location, but that first Sunday of summer, when all the transition was happening, we sat down on the couch and live-streamed church.
There we were, my husband, my son, and I sitting next to each other in our pj’s, eating cereal as the announcements were given, a video clip played, and the pastor preached his sermon. At first, it felt strange to “do church” this way. I felt like I was cheating, or that it was less spiritual. But as we continued weekend after weekend to “do church” from our couch, I began to look forward to cereal and pj’s with my guys, listening and discussing the topic of the day.
All my life Sunday church has looked pretty much the same. Get up at the crack of dawn, shower, dress, get the kids dressed, hand them a granola bar and rush to the car. We’d file into the church building, in hopes of seeing others we knew and finding a seat in a somewhat familiar area of the sanctuary. Songs would be sung, announcements given, and the pastor would speak. Then afterwards, our family would regroup, catch a bite to eat, and spend the rest of the day exhausted from the crazy morning of “making it to church.”
This different way of doing church, on the couch, was easy. It’s been comfortable. And oddly, it’s felt very personal for me.
As we’ve sat together, topics have opened up discussions. Most of the time we agreed with the points of view shared from the speaker, but every once in awhile there would be something that didn’t hit one of us quite right. So, in that moment we would express it and this ignited more conversations to follow the live stream. Church on the couch has been an interactive experience. If we were sitting in the sanctuary, we would sit quietly and respectful. But, while sitting on the couch, debates arose. Although, “church on the couch” is temporary , it has been a fantastic tool for my husband and I to instigate conversations with our son.
The church building construction is almost finished. We will be returning soon to our Sunday routine. Hebrews 10:25 says, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (NIV)
“Church on the couch” has been refreshing and has helped me to see Church differently. I do believe church attendance is important in getting to know others and as the verse said, to “encourage one another,” but sometimes I put God in a box. In fact, I often do. I get into my habits and rituals and associate spiritual experiences with the building I call my church. But God isn’t just at that building. He can speak to us in our car, in our garden, on the beach, at a football game, and on a couch “doing church” while we wait for construction.
It’s been a priceless season of “church on the couch” with my guys.