I was only at this church for a few weeks when I noticed this guy on our youth staff who would yell worship songs during our service. And he did it every week. Students and staff were clearly distracted. I pulled the guy aside and told him I love his passion for Jesus, but, ultimately, a good chunk of the students and staff were being distracted by his yelling and worship is about people looking to Jesus instead of looking at this guy. The guy responded that this was just the way he worshipped Jesus and he didn’t plan on changing anything, even though he acknowledged students were distracted.
We talked a little further, but then he abruptly walked away. He viewed church as a mainly something between himself and God, but church is about God and His people. It’s about a community of believers coming together and proclaiming their love to God. And Paul speaks about how worship should be free of distractions (1 Corinthians 14:26-40). Church isn’t about you or me. It’s about Jesus. However, many Christians view church in a individualistic way.
I came across this quote recently:
Most churches have a primary focus of reaching and then serving the already convinced. So the mission isn’t making disciples but caring for them. From this, services rendered to the believer become paramount. They are the customer in a consumer-driven mission.
I read that quote in a book I recently finished, which is entitled “What They Didn’t Teach You in Seminary: 25 Lessons for Successful Ministry in Your Church”. The Church’s mission is the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20), but our churches often don’t reflect the Great Commission.
Our churches should be about reaching the lost, rather than catering to the saved, since Christians should understand that church isn’t just about “me and Jesus”, but rather about “Jesus and His people”.
I’ve heard lots of people complain about not liking the sermons they hear, or the don’t like the way the worship leader does things, or I’ve heard people complain about decorative things like the color of the new paint or the carpet. The complaints centered around the sentiment “I’m just not getting a lot out of the service”.
I understand that church services should do a lot for believers in the congregation. They need to be taught many things, but at some point we should realize that the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) is the Church’s main priority. We are to be reaching the lost, making disciples, and doing this all through a Christ-centered model.
However, some churches only focus on tending their flock, and many believers view church as just about them and what they get out of church. To be clear, you get out of church as much as you give up to Jesus. It’s not about getting what you put in, since that would make it depend on our actions. Church is about what we pray and give up to Jesus.
The prayer “Jesus, open up my heart to things you want to teach me today and present opportunities for me to serve in this church” should be a fixture every Sunday and every day. We should just come to church and be a spectator and truly experience God’s presence. And I feel like many people who complain about things about their church services don’t often pray on Sundays in this way.
Sure, I have preferences for worship and preaching style, but I can let those go when I know the Gospel is reaching people through the service. And, ultimately, church isn’t about what I get out of it, but rather what I give up to Jesus.
Everyone has preferences for how a church service should look like. Personally, I tend to like a more modern worship style with expository preaching, but I often roll my eyes when I hear people say expository preaching is the best model or modern worship style is the best. I think these people are missing the point.
I don’t care how you preach the Gospel, as long as you preach the Gospel. I don’t care how a worship service is structured, as long as it’s helping people connect to Jesus. My preferences are just my preferences.
I want to make it clear that I’m not proposing that we shouldn’t find the appropriate context to voice our concerns about how our churches are ran. All I’m saying is that we should simply check our hearts before voicing our complaints.
Don’t make your preferences into God’s law.