Americans are consumers. We are constantly on the lookout for better deals, bigger bargains, and more savings: stuff, stuff, and more stuff. If the customer service at a store or restaurant isn’t up to par, we complain; if the products at a store don’t measure up, we go elsewhere; some even switch stores or locations that they shop at based on the clientele. That’s ok…when we’re talking about stores. However, it’s a problem when the Church goes from being a community that we’re committed to to a commodity that we’re consuming.
Let me make this clear: the Church (capital “C”) is not a product. It’s the body of Christ. It’s His institution that He has built and is building. His plan is to use the Church to reach the world.
Some people try out a hundred churches that aren’t their flavor…or music style…or preaching style…or…whatever else. However, I was refreshed by a young college-age guy from Awaken named Chris. I sat down with him about a year ago, when he first moved to Clarksville, and asked about how he got to Clarksville and what brought him to Awaken. He had just moved to town for a college internship and one of his top priorities was to find a church. He told me,
“My time in Clarksville is limited. I knew I could easily spend my whole year looking for a church. So instead, I decided to pick one that teaches the Bible and get involved.”
Not only did Chris save himself the time, effort, and frustration of pin-pointing the “perfect” church (which, by the way, doesn’t exist), he blessed Awaken Church in the process. He immediately started showing up early to pray, joined in on cleaning around the church, taking out trash, and eventually began serving in Awaken Kids. Chris was 1 of 3 people who showed up about 3am on Easter morning to begin filling up the baptism pool! Chris became part of the family.
Here’s the thing that Chris understood that goes against the American consumer mindset: the list of reasons to leave a local church is much smaller than the list of reasons to stay and get involved. You should leave a church if they’re not teaching the Bible, or if they’re twisting it, giving unBiblical counsel, etc. However, music style, a list of available ministries, what the pastor wears, and how many tattoos and/or piercings you spotted (and about a thousand other reasons) do not make the list of reasons you should leave.
Christians, let’s commit to viewing the body of Christ the way it should be viewed: as a community, not a commodity.
The local church needs you and you need the local church. God gave you a gift (or gifts) and He expects you to use them to benefit others and glorify God (see 1 Peter 4:10-11). However, you can only be so effective if you’re bouncing around from church to church based on personal preferences that aren’t being met.
Find a church that teaches the Bible then commit to it. No marriage is perfect; no family is perfect; and no church is perfect. But you shouldn’t bail out on any of them just because “you’re ready for something different” or ____________________ (fill in the blank with your own excuse).
Hebrews 10:24-25 - And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.