Can Christians have fun? Do we know how to?
So this weekend was St. Patrick’s day, a day meant to celebrate the amazing life of the missionary St. Patrick who helped to revitalize Christianity during a time of great darkness. He’s definitely a man worth celebrating.
But I noticed this weekend that the only people truly celebrating were the non-Christians. And they were celebrating by clubbing and drinking and with quite a bit of weed (hey, it’s green!).
Christians, on the other hand, may have posted something nice to Facebook or worn a green top or something, but other than that it was just the normal drudgery.
And to me, that makes no sense.
Why don’t we get excited about St. Patrick’s story?! Why do we find it so hard to just let go and have fun celebrating as Christians?
The biggest complaint I hear about the Christian church from non-Christians as well as from Christians is that it isn’t often a lot of fun. Sure, the people in the church are fun, and we make great friends with each other and have fun times, but the church isn’t fun. No one’s excited. No one’s overcome with the joy of the Lord so they simply can’t contain themselves. No one is celebrating.
I truly believe that our inability to celebrate in current Christian church culture is one of the main reasons many of us get disillusioned with the church. Our churches, quite frankly, have become apathetic. As someone who helps with worship, I can tell you that it is abysmal the number of people who actually sing on a Sunday morning, not to mention those who actually seem to enjoy it.
Now, if you’re laughing at me a bit or shaking your head because you think it’s unrealistic to get people excited about God on a weekly basis, I’d ask you why is that so silly? Why is it so unrealistic to expect people to want to just jump for joy at the amazing message of the cross, or to sing praises with abandoned pride only 4 times a month? I’d actually argue that if we truly understood what God did for us, and if we were walking closer to Him, we’d think that just once a week wasn’t enough.
But I have a mission, and it’s to make the church fun again. And I think the best way to do that is to insert a bit of celebration back into our lives. The problem is that when you start to do something that no one else really gets, it can feel awkward. But let me tell you–if your faith is feeling dead, or like you’ve lost that spiritual “spark”, it’s worth it. Let’s bring back the joy of the Lord the way David had, where he danced without thought as to what others would think. Let’s make church a FUN place! And here’s how to do it:
1. How can Christians have fun? Make celebration a habit!
You’ll never get any good at having fun in your faith if you don’t make it a routine. Celebration as a routine may seem a bit weird–shouldn’t it be natural? Wouldn’t it be fake if you schedule it in?
Well, what about Christmas? Birthday? Easter?
Instead of feeling fake when you schedule it in, making celebration a habit makes it easier for your mind to get to the right place. It allows you to plan your weekend around celebration, for you to get excited with anticipation.
Start small. Start with maybe going to church to truly worship, instead of just to sit in the pews and wait for something to reach you. Celebration and worship is the best way we can extend a bit of ourselves to connect with the divine, but often we fail to worship in church because we’re waiting to “feel God’s presence.” Well, maybe instead of waiting you should just jump in! Make it a habit at church to celebrate.
2. Practice mindfulness so you can be present in the moment
The biggest barrier for me when it comes to celebrating at church is that my mind goes at 100 mph. I’m thinking about the grocery list tomorrow, or if I ever sent that email to so-and-so, not what I’m singing about.
Mindfulness is a powerful tool. In the modern world with technology connecting us to almost everything else in the world, it’s hard to just be present. But here’s the thing: I truly believe that the ability to simply be present in God’s love is a spiritual discipline.
“Be still, and know that I am God.” “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” These are just a few of the many verses where God commands us to stop, experience, enjoy, and know that He is God.
Next time when you’re in church and you’re having a hard time “connecting” because you can’t get your mind to slow down, try to just close your eyes, breathe deeply, and pray a simple prayer, such as “God, allow me to see You in this moment.” Make this a spiritual practice not only on Sundays, too, but any time you feel your mind racing so you can’t focus on Him. It makes a huge difference.
3. Involve community
When asking, “Can Christians have fun,” the best answer is often community. Huge dinners, worship nights, times to share one’s testimony. Some of the most powerful moments I’ve had with celebration have been just around a dinner table with other Christians, as we’re all just talking about what God has done in our lives. There is seriously nothing more uplifting and encouraging, and it’s really fun! God created us as beings who were meant for community–engaging in community that worships God has no comparison.
4. Know what you’re celebrating
Celebration has no meaning if it’s just for the sake of celebrating. It may be fun, but that only goes so far. We’ve got to combine the fun with worship for it to be meaningful and actually impact our lives.
The way we can do this is by knowing what we’re celebrating. Read up on various saints, or if you decide to celebrate an aspect of God take a week and just do a Bible study on that aspect. If you take the time to study what you’ll be worshiping God for, it begins to have a lot more meaning.
5. Don’t be afraid to look weird
Here’s the thing: having a life of intimate closeness with God and being completely humbled to Him isn’t easy. It’s not safe. It’s not what everyone else is doing. Your way of celebration and worship may look completely different than someone else’s–but if it’s how God created you to worship Him, that’s ok. People might think you’re a bit crazy for getting so excited about worship, or about yet another awesome saint from almost 2000 years ago, but who cares? How can Christians have fun if they’re too scared of what the others think?
Personally, I’d rather have an exciting faith where I can be completely and utterly myself before God and have a few people staring at me than continue to live in stifled Christianity, where many of us find ourselves.
Looking weird isn’t the enemy. It’s often the first step towards intimacy!
What do you think? Can Christians have fun? Do you find celebration and excitement hard with your faith? How do you combat that?