I Corinthians 13 is one of the most familiar passages in the Bible and is often read at weddings because its theme is love. Verse 1 begins with a declaration: "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am but a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal." Verses 2-3 then go on to enumerate things we often do in church, or as I like to call them "churchy" things - prophecy, faith, giving to the poor, sacrifice...but ends again with the statement that even if we do all these things, if we do not "have" love then we gain nothing and it is all done in vain.
After several more verses describing what true love is, this chapter takes an interesting turn. Verse 11 says, "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I thought as a child, I understood as a child. But when I became a man, I put away childish things." What a strange thing to be included in this chapter about love. I think its purpose is for us to question our motivation for why we do what we do.
There are really only two motivations in the world - love and fear - and everything we do is driven either by one or the other. I believe the point of this passage is basically this: until we do all these "churchy" things with the right motivation, we are doing them childishly, either to gain a reward or to avoid punishment, just as a child would. But God wants more than that from us.
Again in Hebrews 6, scripture states: "Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment."
Years ago our church spent quite some time studying what our covenant with God should be and our particular ministry emphasized 5 points: salvation, water baptism, church attendance, tithe & offering and respect for spiritual authority. Recently we have revisited these points. What we learned and practiced years ago is by no means "wrong." These are all wonderful concepts through which we learn personal discipline, but just like most, if not all of the "fun" is removed from a "mandatory" party, most, if not all of the "worship" is removed from church when these things become mandatory and are done out of fear rather than out of love.
When we live our lives afraid that God is going to curse us and send us to hell if we don't do certain things, that fear will produce nothing but negativity in our lives. If fear is our motivation, we will never be "right" with God. It's not so much that we need to change the things we do, but rather why we do them.