Snow White and the “Seven Churches”
In a recent conversation, a friend described his experience in visiting a congregation as attending the “Sleepy” Church of Christ. As I thought about this, I thought how so many of the names of the seven dwarfs could be applied to congregations today. Those seven dwarfs are: Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy and Dopey. Think about how many of these names could be applied to some Christians you know.
First impressions are so important. I do not know when during the visit my friend began thinking of that congregation as a sleepy church, but each of us should always be aware that the first impression made on visitors can impact the impression they have of a congregation as they leave. What is the impression this church makes on visitors? More importantly, what impression do they form of this church when they first meet you?
God did not intend for the church to be “sleepy.” When the church assembles for worship, there should be an air of joy, excitement and anticipation that something special is about to happen. Every person should realize that the attention of heaven is about to be focused on worshipers. There should be prayers which exalt God. There should be singing that comes from the hearts and brings visual joy to faces of those who are praising Jehovah. There should be an atmosphere of deep reverence as every member focuses together on Christ and the cross during communion. As we give, we should reflect the fact that we are cheerfully seeing how our offerings are used by God to do His work. Then, there should be preaching that shows the genuine sincerity of those who preach and those who listen. Worship must never be “sleepy.”
Which name of which dwarf describes you? The list is not exhaustive by any means, for there are many positive words which describe most Christians I know. However, have you ever known a Christian or visited a congregation which could be described as “Grumpy”? What about a Christian or congregation who were so “Bashful” they never revealed the glorious family of God? What about a Christian or church whose failure to study His word caused them to be “Dopey”?
I am not sure exactly what happened or did not happen which caused my friend to visit with the bride of Jesus and walk away with the impression he did. I am sure that each of us needs to see that we do our part of revealing true Christianity in all we do when we assemble.
The words of Paul seem so appropriate. “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep…” (Rom. 13:11).