Many times I fear that I come across negative in this blog. I hope that is not the case. It is simply a platform for conversation. I hope to bring up things that deserve discussion. My prayer is that you never view me as a negative individual when it comes to the Church. There is nothing I love more than the Church. It is something to which I have dedicated my life.
On that note, today’s discussion. Burger King is known for their slogan “Have it your way.” That mindset attracted a lot of people. When we get down to it, we would all love to have it our way. Let’s be real, no one wants to be a part of something that they do not like.
We support missions we like.
We go to a church we like.
We sing songs we like.
We live in a neighborhood we like.
We do a job we like (well, not all of us).
We marry someone we like (I hope all of us do that…).
We all want to do something we like. We all want to be a part of something we like. And when we don’t like something, we like to transform it into something we like. My dad hates onions. Every time he orders something, he tells them to leave off the onions. If they don’t, he usually won’t eat it. And believe me, we have tried sneaking them into his food – he always finds them. My dad will transform something with onions into something without onions – something he doesn’t like into something he likes.
My fear with this mindset, is that we do this with the Church, especially within the non-denominational world. If we don’t like the carpeting in the church, we urge the church to change it. If we don’t like the elders in the church, we try to get them out. If we don’t like the preaching, we tell him/her how to do it better. If we don’t like the worship, we tell the worship leaders how to improve. If we don’t like the youth minister, we tell him/her what could be done to make the ministry better. I could go on and on with this list. But I’ll spare the redundancy and state the point: we change that which we don’t like.
This is a great mindset to have in our lives. Change the things we don’t like in ourselves. However, within the Church, is this right? Is it right to try to find a church to “fit our needs?” Is it right to try and change a church to be how we want it? Is it right to sing the songs that we want? Listen to the preaching we want? Pray the prayers we want? Support the missions we want? Where is the line between the will of God and the will of man? What happens when one person says, “God told me we should support this mission in India?” But another person says, “God told me we should support this mission in Mexico?” Who is right? To whom did God speak? Is it possible that both are really just trying to get what they want?
The Church is one place where everyone is an expert. Every person is an expert preacher, teacher, worship leader, youth leader, elder, meditator, children’s leader, etc. We all have input on how everyone can do their job better (and do their job according to how we would want it). I see this in myself. I confuse what I want with what God wants. Our desire is sometimes so strong that we cannot see what God wants.
The Church is not Burger King. We cannot have it our way. We cannot change things just because “we don’t like them.” I speak to myself when I say this. We cannot change the preacher just because we don’t like his preaching. We cannot change the worship just because we don’t like the songs. We cannot change the view of communion just because we don’t like how uncomfortable it can make some feel. We cannot change things just because we want something different. It is something that has to be of God. We have to trust that the leaders are seeking God’s will for the direction of the church. If they are not, that will be brought to light – it always is.
In the meantime, let’s stop treating the Church like Burger King. Surprisingly enough, we are not all experts in ministry. The Church is not about us having it our way. It is about God having it His way. The sooner we realize that, the sooner we will begin acting like the Church.