I’m amazed that anyone shows up for Sunday Worship! Why? Because everyone has a different opinion. The room is too hot (or too cold); the sermons are too long (or too short); the music is too loud (or too listless); the greeters aren’t friendly enough (or too gushy), and the list of preferences goes on and on.
The Bible warns all of us to “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3-4). Paul had to write that because we see things from our perspective. We are all biassed towards our point of view.
Here’s a question: Do we tend to be selfish church attenders? Are we displaying a thinly-disguised temper tantrum when things don’t go our way? Or, are we willing to give deference to others’ interests? Are we ready to support needed changes even though we are not crazy about them? Will we do what it takes to fulfill the mission of the church?
It is so easy for us to think church should be about us. Here are eight indications that we may think church is just for us, rather than for others.
- We don’t like changes that don’t fit our tastes. Not only do we like what we like, we think it is more spiritual. We quickly assume our preferences are “God’s best.”
- We feel entitled because we’ve been attending longer. We become territorial. It’s my seat, my position, my opinions that count!
- We don’t like to be stretched. Call it the “comfort zone.” While the world is changing around us, we want the church to be our haven of constancy.
- We give financially with “strings” attached. Often giving of our finances is the first thing we withhold when things are not going our way.
- We are critical and angry. You can see it on our faces. We are grumpy about where the church is headed and more than willing to share our discontent with anyone who will listen.
- We’d rather support our old friends than a new direction. Friends influence our attitudes. Sadly, to avoid conflict, we silently go along with our buddies instead of supporting a fresh vision for the future.
- We no longer support and trust leadership. At some point, our expectations and opinions trump leadership. We think our way is the best way and any other way is suspect.
- We have lost our compassion for the lost. Ultimately, when we make church about us, we are focused inward, all the while God is calling us outward. We have forgotten our mission to reach a world that desperately needs Jesus.
Ironically, some people who are frustrated over a few changes in their church are willing to change everything by leaving and adjusting to a brand new church.
BEFORE YOU GO
So, what other behaviors reveal our tendency to see church as something for us rather than for others? What would church look like if each of us humbly looked to the interest of others? Why are we so reluctant to embrace change?
NEXT WEEK: Church for Us (Part 2)