By Tom Carter
What kind of church are you looking for?
This is a common question that at its core is both good and sincere and a little bit absurd. A few years in the workplace will reveal the startling fact that every place you end up, well there you are! And what's more, every social group offers the same mix personalities!
Unlike looking for a new restaurant or even a new house, making the decision to look for a new church home (or to stay where you are) is different. Most of the time when we willingly buy or sign up for something, it is intended for a personal benefit of some kind. Maybe I want to get stronger, so I join a health club and learn to work out. Perhaps I might join a club that does nice things for other people in the name of “giving back”, this is another great thing to do but is not the same kind of commitment as joining a church.
Have you ever intentionally gone to a restaurant that served food you didn’t like? Probably not. Well church is not like a restaurant, and you are not going there to be served, at least that should not be your purpose in going. And in fact, that church you visited last week that was full of nice folks “but just didn’t meet your needs” may have been exactly where God wanted you to be. I think of Elijah, Joshua, even Jonah and later the disciples. Were they sent where their “needs” would be met, or did they go where they could be part of serving others according to God’s will?
There is a certain comfort in being served and eventually lulled into a happy stupor by being surrounded by lots of comfortable things that make us feel good. But Christ has called us to much more than this. And by us, I mean every believer. Take some time to read through the parables of Jesus found in the gospels for example, these narratives are not told exclusively to those we say are “called” they are for everyone to both believe and follow Christ.
So what do we do? Good people may have a vision of what a church should be and do, but they cannot seem to find that place where this is happening. What if you have that vision and then take it to a place where it does not exist and share it, work at it, and maybe even see it grow to reality. And leaders, how about showing a willingness to let go of yesterday’s successes and let those people with new ideas and energy step forward and become tomorrows pioneers.
So good people, if you are looking for a place that is becoming and not just existing then take the vision God has given you and work at making it a reality, and maybe you will find that the not so perfect place is right where you need to be.
Often, what is really at issue is whether you want to step into the realm of someone else's calling and ministry as a consumer or be a spiritual entrepreneur and put in the work to build that ideal church you are looking for. So, which is it for you? Serve or be served? Please share by leaving a comment below.