Why didn’t I know early in my ministry that it is more difficult to be the church than to go to (play) church? I can go to church, sing a few hymns, read non-threatening Scripture or hear a non-confrontational message, give a few dollars and go home the same person as I entered. “Playing church” can be a distraction from the serious issues we face every day. Jesus wasn’t murdered because he was sweet and lovely. He was killed because he irritated people, including religious leaders, government officials and even some of his followers who quickly drifted away when he turned his face toward the cross. The line “we will never change the world by going to church — we will only change the world by being the church” still challenges me. The Gospel message needs to be both comforting and confrontational both in the pew and in the pulpit.