One of the biggest things God wants to happen during the break from organized services is to re-establish a relationship with His people. With the forced church closures, many people, for the first time, will be left with the responsibility for their spirituality and growth.
The churches that have focused on empowering their members in a Christian lifestyle before closure will be better off compared to organizations that have institutionalized their members by not providing them with the knowledge or skills to continue individually (such as knowledge in spiritual warfare.)
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me,” Hosea 4:6
Of great concern are the people who have been conditioned into religious, spiritual practice who don’t know how to interact with God without the institutional scaffolding in place (like the liturgy or holy communion.) They have been chained into a codependent relationship with the church instead of being empowered in a relationship with Jesus himself, who gives freedom.
Without the institution, the ego of the church-goer who once loved the familiarity of the church service might realize they are not as spiritual. Only then will people be able to encounter the true supernatural lifestyle that Christianity is in its purest form without a middle man. Alternatively, the church-goer might be so disempowered spiritually that they may not get closer to God because they have become completely lost and fall into temptation or worldly activities fuelled by the ego.
The need for a shift in the “Religion to Relationship” debate heats up when we focus our attention on the topic of communion. Communion at home (conducted safely) during coronavirus and Easter is considered essential by many Christians and churches, and they participate in it as Jesus has encouraged them to do in the gospels.
Legalism in the institutional church and man-made canon laws has meant that millions of people around the world have not been empowered or allowed to celebrate communion at home during coronavirus and at Easter when they would like to.
This is where religion got it wrong.
Jesus never once said in the Bible that remembering Him through the last supper had to be done by a church official. That directive from Jesus does not exist anywhere. The necessity of having ordained clergy present for communion is just something the church conveniently made to hold power and keep people codependent instead of empowering them spiritually. Consider what Jesus said to officials in the Jewish church who practiced legalism:
“For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter go in,” Matthew 23:6.
These words should act as a severe warning to church leaders who deny their members everything good about communion for the sake of maintaining power and control in their institutions, especially during times when communion should be celebrated as often as Easter and during times of hardship.
While it is not the intention of this article to detract from the necessity of corporate worship and congregating with Christian people, the take-home message is that church services of any kind are not intended to act as a substitute for a relationship with God one-on-one.
This is a clear lesson from God during this time that Christianity is a lifestyle that is lived every day and not a service exclusive to Sunday’s. Churches which exist to empower their members in a relationship with God, it seems, will receive far greater favor from God in the future than churches who live for the agendas of their organizations — failing to lead people to Jesus accurately. That is if God doesn’t use the coronavirus as an opportunity to close specific institution’s doors that he is displeased with before they can re-open.
Tim Crawshaw is an advocate for Christianity to move back to it’s supernatural roots from religion into relationship with Jesus. He runs a wilderness ministry in Tasmania, Australia, called “The Bay of Fires Walk For Spiritual Seekers” which gives participants an opportunity to authentically and supernaturally encounter God in some of the most beautiful isolated beaches in the world to receive restoration and life changing spiritual growth.