For years, I have bought into the church growth principle that the more choices you give people in a church, the more successful the church will be.
To agree with that principle, you must gauge a church’s success by the number of people who stay at that church. But is that true success?
Here are the courses that the American church is serving up:
- Worship – traditional, contemporary, blended, cutting edge, emergent, ancient future, classic, golden, choir, band, hard rock, country western, southern gospel, chandeliers, go-bos, expensive organ, expensive guitar, etc.
- Discipleship – Sunday school, community groups, small groups, Bible fellowship classes, on-campus, in-homes, co-ed, single, married, guys only, girls only, by hobby-interest, by age, by life situations, etc.
- Preaching – coat and tie, jeans and t-shirt, podium, table, old, young, hip, wise, screen, video, sermon, message, talk
- Family Ministries – discipleship times, creative programs, glorified babysitting, “community” sports programs with a side of Christ, men’s ministry, women’s ministry, single, divorced, newlywed, with kids, with small kids, with fussy kids, for fussy kids, puppets, Awanas, GAs, RAs, children’s choir
And the list could go on.
- Is God honored when we explain what church we belong to by describing the type of music we like?
- Is God honored when we defend our group’s methods within the church rather than celebrating the diversity of the whole church?
- Is God honored when we try to woo members from other churches because this program is better than that program?
Maybe God would be glorified if we stopped looking like buffet lines and started uniting ourselves around our adoration of Jesus that pales all other comparisons out of our sight.
What would the American Church look like if we followed God’s Word concerning a church?
1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call– 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. -Ephesians 4:1-6
If we followed this, the church wouldn’t look like a buffet line. What would it look like?