We are a society of consumer, big time consumers, even when it comes to churches, especially when it comes to churches. We want a church that meets our needs and if it doesn’t we will shop around until we find one that does. As a result we have created a climate of church hopping and church shopping.
In fact, this is how bad it has devolved. This is incredibly popular. We will go to one church for the worship because we really like the music there and then we leave early and get in our car and drive quickly to somewhere else to hear the preaching because we like the preaching there and then we take our kids on Wednesday night somewhere to the youth ministry because our kids like the youth ministry there and we go somewhere else for the ladies Bible study because it’s really outstanding while the whole time we are under no accountability, we answer to no one, we are not involved in genuine deep Biblical community, and we don’t give back because we are too busy consuming, and then what happens, we whine because we cannot find one church that meets all of our needs.
Can we be mature and talk about this? It’s a tragedy that American Christians are more consumers than contributors. As the leader of a new church the reality of this hits home often, especially when you hear of a family that has left to go to another church because the other church does a better job of “meeting their needs.” So can I be straight up with you and tell you what you are not going to find at our church and save you some time in the searching process?
You are not going to find… (Here’s the top 10)
1. A nice building of our own that is suitable to meet all the needs of the church.
2. A variety of programs that are designed to address “all” the needs of the church body.
3. A turn key facility that is all set up and cleaned by a custodian and all you have to do is walk in and enjoy.
4. A church campus that is ideally located in the community
5. A wide array of staff and finely tuned programs ready to meet all the needs of everyone.
6. Strong clout and influence in the community.
7. A place to hide if you want to forever remain anonymous.
8. A highly comfortable and convenient setting.
9. A substantial financial base of long time givers.
10. I’m sorry, I could only think of nine.
I suppose it is only fare that after identifying what you will not find at our church to let you know the flip side, what you will find. So here it is.
1. A place for bold and courageous people to serve and demonstrate authentic faith.
2. A place that witnesses more unsaved coming to Christ than any other kind of church setting.
3. A place to invest your resources that pay the highest return in kingdom results.
4. A place where radical life change happens regularly.
5. A place with a spirit and environment that is infectious and contagious.
6. A place that gets more accomplished due to lack of bureaucracy.
7. A place to be stretched in faith like you never have before.
8. A place where the Bible is communicated clearly and without compromise.
9. A place where corporate worship brings you into the presence of God.
10. A place with a children’s program that is second to none.
11. A place with a healthy, growing student ministry.
12. A place with small groups that provide friendships and a environment for living out faith.
13. A place that will challenge your comfort zone in a healthy way.
14. A place where you are needed.
Here’s the problem. We’ve forgotten this. THE CHURCH IS NOT HERE FOR US. Did I really just say that? I must be insane. But friends, we are the church and we are here for the world. When did we forget that? “Can’t find a church that meets my needs.” Grow up. Church is not here for us. We are the church. We are here for the world. When we grasp that, when we work together with that objective, God’s business will flourish like it never has before. God will be glorified when the body of Christ acts like the body of Christ. And then, and only then, will our own needs be met as God has designed them to be met.
Isn’t that exactly what Jesus was driving at when He said, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. “ (Matthew 10:39) Can I put that in today’s terms? Whoever lives life from a selfish perspective, always looking for how my needs can be met, will never come to experience the true meaning of what life is all about. But those who are willing to live life from an unselfish perspective, living for God’s objectives, discover true life. And I might add, those are also the only ones who come to discover true happiness.
So what are you looking for, your needs being met or real life and happiness?