Re-Evaluating 'Church'

"But teaching our people about the church as a family will not suffice to alter deeply ingrained patterns of behavior. We must also reevaluate the social contexts of church life, the ways in which our ministries are executed. The priority most churches place upon the success of the Sunday service subtly but powerfully communicates the message that this impersonal, once-a-week social environment is quintessentially what 'church' is all about. After all, this is where most church leaders count heads, and this is where we collect money. As a result, the one event preeminently identified with the word 'church' in most congregations finds our people seated side-by-side, facing forward, with little or no interpersonal interaction with person to the right or to the left. A fellow sitting next to me in Sunday church might have lost his job - or his spouse - that very week. Tragically, however, I would never know it."

-J. Hellerman, When the Church was a Family, 177