Since I was laid off my job at a church last June, people frequently ask me, “so where are you going to church now?” My short answer is that I’m taking a break from church. The longer answer is that I’m taking some time off from church in order to focus on my relationship with God.
So yesterday I went to The Getty with some friends. We specifically went to see the Rembrandt exhibit. We also wandered around the Impressionists, and had lunch on the outdoor patio overlooking the ocean. It was a spectacularly beautiful Sunday morning, following a Saturday rain storm.
Depending on your personality, growing your relationship with God may not mean more Bible reading and prayer time. If you’re a creative type, it may look more like going to the theater, an art museum, the beach. If you’re a techie, it may mean going to the U2 concert and admiring all the lights, speakers, media screens and stage effects. The point is, you can connect with God in places that feed your soul.
In some ways, church has become a disseminator of information. They’re great at explaining how you can grow your relationship with God IF… if you join a small group, if you go on a missions trip, if you serve in a ministry, if you read your Bible every day. And those things are all true. But sometimes to actually connect with God – spiritually, personally, to hear him speak – church is not the best place, simply because there are so many other people talking.
I’m not advocating skipping church to go to the beach every Sunday. We also need to connect and encourage one another in the body of Christ. But for a season – those spiritual deserts or valleys of shadow – give yourself permission to explore experiences that connect with God differently.