A ‘first world’ Christian reality today is that we can go ‘church shopping.’
The choices vary with the locale, but where I live there are plenty of choices – denominations, theology, style, music, size, culture, ministries…
I’ve often said that our church probably isn’t the right fit for everyone (which usually means style), so I’m ‘okay’ with ‘church shoppers’ (already Christians) finding a place that’s a good fit for them, even if it’s not with us.
But the reality is that our churches should almost all be (or become) the right fit for those who align biblical priorities over personal preferences.
In biblical Christianity, there was no such thing as ‘worship style.’ No traditional vs. contemporary etc.
There is no such thing in the Bible as ‘good children’s ministries.’
No women’s ministry, men’s ministry, divorced ministry, singles ministry…
None of these are bad and most do a lot of good. But it gets involved quickly.
Church was once oriented about discipleship to Jesus in community.
That’s what mattered. And if you were a part of a local church, you were a part of it.
You didn’t explore your options.
Today even the most mature Christians place a high value on their personal preferences.
It’s hard to escape.
We (yes, me too) are spoiled and somewhat selfish.
It’s also a dangerous game.
There are a few today with the courage to refuse to play the game.
To just not care about what people want.
It’s sounds crazy to say it, doesn’t it?
Francis Chan is one of those ‘crazy ones’ and he’s part of a movement in the San Fransisco area of people who are trying their best to only care about what God wants.
“By catering our worship to the worshippers and not the Object of our worship, I fear we have created human-centered churches.” Francis Chan in Letters to the Church
What if we said, ‘we’re not really interested in your (or our) preferences? The only things that are really important to us are those things important to God.
We probably think nobody would show up for that.
And we may be right. Certainly fewer would show up in some contexts.
But those who were there would know why they were there.
For the first few centuries of the church (and around the world today), Christians were willing to suffer and die for their faith. We don’t think we should have to suffer through an outdated song or uninspiring sermon.
Often, in our churches, we ‘dabble in discipleship,’ to use a phrase I heard recently.
Yes, I want to have meaningful music and dynamic teaching and ministries that make a difference, but it’s imperative that we know that it’s not about what we want.
Say it with me, “It’s not about me”
Say it again.