I have been in church now for almost 26 years. I have seen and heard just about everything! I have seen people argue over the color of the carpet in the auditorium; I have seen people throw their Bibles at people; I have heard people curse and get belligerent.
“I don’t like that kind of music”; “I don’t like that version of the Bible”; “I think the piano should sit on the left side of the stage”; “People should be more reverent in church”…I could list a hundred more statements that I have heard muttered over the years in church. I bet you can too if you have been in church longer than six months!
Where did we begin to think that church is all about us? How did we develop such a “consumer mentality”? When did we start thinking that church is a Day Spa where you come to get pampered?
Every church at some point will fall into the deadliest of all traps – the trap of focusing inward. “It’s all about me, what I want, how I want it and if you don’t cater to my whims and wishes, I will withhold my tithe or even leave.”
One time I was preaching at a church that did not have a Pastor. It was a Wednesday night service and I had my wife with me. A man who was in charge of the service told me that they were going to have a brief business meeting before I preached. I knew that “brief” and “business meeting” did not fit together but I certainly never expected to witness what happened next.
The church needed a new vacuum cleaner so of course, they formed a Committee. (Aren’t you grateful that God so loved the world that He did not send a Committee!) A 15 minute demonstration of a certain type of vacuum cleaner was presented by the chairwoman of the Committee that included dumping dirt on the stage and vacuuming it up. Another lady stood to her feet and began stating why the church should not purchase that particular brand of vacuum cleaner. Voices were raised, people got excited and this debate continued with no sign of letting up. 30 minutes later, the moderator of the business meeting made a motion to table the discussion until the next month. We sang a song and I was told that I only had ten minutes to preach my sermon because it had grown late and the people liked to be out by 8:00 pm sharp. I won’t give you the details of what I said exactly but I did mention that God really didn’t care what brand vacuum cleaner they bought and we did not finish by 8:00 pm! I was never invited back to preach at that church!
Let me remind you…the church is about Jesus! It is about what HE is about – seeking and saving that which is lost. It is about bringing glory to the one who alone is worthy.
Let’s put our personal preferences aside and be the church in which Jesus died for.
Let’s pick up and carry the cross…not the vacuum cleaner!