I live in a somewhat rural area just inside the St. Louis Metro area in a town that just had a new Burger King open. WOW! I am excited because there are not very many fast food places that you can get a Char-broiled or fired burger. However, as I am excited about all of the nuances that come with a new place that specializes in giving it to you “your way” I was still quite shocked at how rude people can be. Keep in mind this place has only been open less than a week. It is new and because of its newness people are showing up for service. I’ve not seen a lot of places that have recently opened and not experienced what it’s like to not have ordered enough of certain ingredients or the difficulties of working a computer operated soda machine (touch sensitive screen, too). With that in mind I tend to go with a “have it my way” mentality but also erring on the side of grace and mercy. By the way, Burger King, you are really rocking it in Alton!! GOOD JOB!
I know that sounds a little crazy. “Why would I spend so much time thinking about things like that?” I often wonder that same thing… but it is so true. How often do you hear believers talking about being “in the market” for a new church. One of the things I hear most often about disgruntled church members is that they just don’t do it the way I like it. For those of you who know me, know that is when I have to bite my tongue and fight back the urge to say the following: “That’s nice. When we start worshipping you I’ll ask for your opinion.” or “Get off the cross, cause frankly we need the wood.”
While those comments bring a chuckle to my step and sometimes a rolling on my floor it’s not the best way to respond. We have to realize that folks who are shopping for a church, leaving a church because things just aren’t going how they would like it to go are really struggling with spiritual immaturity. I’ve seen and heard people respond to concerns about their departure range from our church being too snobby, too traditional, too contemporary, you name it I’ve heard it. At some point in a believer’s walk with the Lord they come to a realization that worship has nothing to do with us. However, it has everything to do with Jesus Christ and all that He has done for us.
If you are in a place and are unable to worship Jesus and praise Him for what He has done for you simply because you don’t like the songs that are in the line up than I highly suggest you run to the cross and ask God to show you why you cannot focus upon Him. I’ve also experienced folks who get so fed up that someone took “their” pew and are so mad that someone is in their seat that they end up leaving the service. I’ve seen people get so frustrated that their song suggestions, to the pastoral staff, have yet to make it into a worship service as if it were only about what they wanted out of a service. But that’s what happens when we as the church allow the “Have it your way” mentality to saturate our places of worship.
Please understand that I am not belittling anyone’s opinion, likes or dislikes for we are all unique individuals that have different tastes. However, when we start shopping for a church based solely on what we want out of a church we have to stop and ask, what is church all about? What does God say that the Church is? It is okay to look for a place that is going to meet your needs and has some things that you like, those are definitely advantages to looking around for the right church. But the most important question “is this a place where I can serve Christ whole-heartedly?” “God is this where you want me and my family to be planted?” We need to really start focusing on what God’s Word says we should look for in our worship. One great passage that lays out a beautiful worship encounter with the Lord of lords can be found in Isaiah 6. I encourage you to take a moment and experience a glimpse of what Isaiah experienced.
Until next time…