I was reading this week an interesting study done out at Willow Creek Community Church. Willow Creek is known for its role in the seeker sensitive movement. They are loved by some, hated by others, but regardless of one’s opinion on them, they have reached numerous people for Christ over the years of the church’s existence. Not only that, but they have positively influenced a great number of churches to get intentional about reaching out to people who don’t know Jesus.
They conducted a survey to gauge where their people were spiritually and they found out some interesting tidbits.
- The realized that they should have made self-feeders. They realized that for all the programs that Willow Creek did and did well, people have become dependant upon a certain program. Bill Hybels stated that he wished they would have taught his people a long time ago to be self-feeders able to read the Bible on their own. People who knew what it took to grow by themselves and not relying on a program.
- The longer someone was in a church, the more dissatisfied they became with it. As they polled their people, those beginning a relationship with Jesus were thrilled at everything the church had to offer. But the longer the people stayed at that church and “grew up” in Christ, the more unhappy they became. They tithed. They had been on a mission trip. They did the small group thing. They went to all types of classes. They served. And then they just got discontent.
It sounded like someone who gets used to a spouse, that they still love them and are faithful, but just some of the desire was missing. This study has made me think about myself, our church, and all Christians around the globe trying to figure out why this happens.
If I am truly growing in Christ and I become a self-feeder (not dependant upon any program), then where do I run the risk of becoming discontent? Is it because we are always looking for the next big thing? Is it because we are selfish and want all of our needs met in every area of life? Is it because once we get over familiar with a person or an institution, we just get complacent?
I don’t really have any answers, but I do in my own personal life that whenever I start making anything about me, I’ve got problems. When I make my marriage all about me, we’ve got issues. When I make my workplace about how I can jockey for power, I’m in trouble. And when I make church and faith all about my needs and desires neglecting everyone else’s desires (Phil. 2:3-4), I think we miss out the point of what church is supposed to be anyway.