I had a fabulous facebook chat with my friend Josh today. We were talking about the current trends we see in some friends relating to church. There are a few things that we noticed, and maybe I will write about those another time. For now I thought I’d blog about the biggest thing: church shopping. We as a 20-30 Somethings are the absolute worst when it comes to church shopping. Or, probably more appropriate, just church bashing (sometimes not even actually attending anywhere). Somewhere along the way church became a buffet to us. It became unlimited options for us to pick through and chose exactly what we want. What WE want. It seems like the part about where GOD wants us has become unimportant. (note: I am not talking about people who happen to be in-between churches, I am talking about people who have a pattern of criticizing and leaving churches.)
I was in church one Sunday morning about 3 years ago really unhappy with my church and wishing that we could attend a different one. A cooler one. God spoke to me something at that moment that seemed so base at the time but has subsequently changed my life. I sat in the balcony looking down over the congregation, irritated, frustrated and disappointed, when God said to me that He had called me to this church. He said church is like a family and in a family you can’t chose which one you will be born in to, or what your family members would be like. You may have a weird uncle or a nosy aunt. But it doesn’t matter because they are your family and you chose to love them. I was so convicted by God saying this to me, and I repented for my judgment against my church- my family. After that Sunday the flood gates opened for me and Dustin. We met amazing friends, were promoted in the church and found a true intimacy and unity at ORCC. I can say with all my heart that I love this church, and in return the church loves me. Does that mean that I don’t struggle with things here or don’t have certain desires that I would like met? No, of course not. But when in life is that not the case? This is true in my marriage as well, or in my friendships, but I don’t stop being loyal to them. If you chose to be loyal and love your church you will find the same in return. If you are cold and judgmental you will receive the same in return.
Here are 2 of the best quotes I have ever read about church shopping:
“We have reduced the church to one hour-and-a-half event per week; we have reduced the Gospel to cater to felt needs and personal preferences; and we have reduced discipleship to optional private spiritual exercises …We are raised with so many options we are paralyzed by the possibility of something better … God/church simply gets added to the list of things we consume … the problem is that much of the ‘attractional’ church has fostered this understanding by catering to it …” -Mike Erre, speaking pastor of Rock Harbor Church in Costa Mesa, Calif
“But we as individual “church shoppers” must realize there are problems with every single church. Let me repeat that: There are problems with every single church. There are lame people in every one. There is gossip in every one. There are weird, awkward people in every one. Pastors are going to screw up, the music might suck and the greeter at the door might turn her nose up at you when you enter. When these things happen, remember that none of those things matter. Do not be distracted by these things. People are always going to be flawed. That’s why they need Christ. And you know what? You are there to bring more of Him to that place. You are there to give of yourself, to humble yourself, to form relationships with people you might not normally associate with for the sake of something greater than you. Offer to apply for leadership. Offer to help with a mission trip. Go feed homeless people. If you go with the intent to give of yourself in any and every way possible, I promise the sucky worship leader or the yawner sermons will not matter.
If we walk actively and raise our voices, we will connect. If we sit passively, expecting to be catered to, we will be left in the cold.”
source: Pastor Andrew Schwab