I read this excerpt from one of the leadership e-mails I get just this past week.
“Last week I attended the Willow Creek Association's REVEAL conference. Bill Hybels was the opening speaker…I was surprised by what he identified as the church's biggest challenge. Hybels says the largest gap exists not between seekers and believers, but between less mature Christians and "Christ-centered" Christians. The less mature, he says, believe that "God is for me, my plans, and my agenda in this world." But the truly Christ-centered have given up their lives and dreams in complete surrender to him. "A big honkin' thing has to happen for a Christian to move from self-centered to Christ-centered."”
Looking to tomorrow’s election (hopefully for the last time. Like many of you I am tired of hearing about all of this) I thought about the agendas that we take into the polling booth. As I have mentioned before, I am shocked by the number of “Christians” who say that the economy is more important than the many moral issues that face our nation (One could easily argue that economic issues are a result of poor moral choices in our past).
More importantly, I think Bill Hybel’s words hit home for many of us in the area of worship. We have adopted a shopper’s mentality when it comes to looking for a place to worship with our family. We hop from church to church, looking for the one that “meets our needs,” without ever consulting God’s desires for us. I often wonder how many times a day that God shakes His head and thinks to Himself, “They really don’t get this, do they?”
Here’s what I encourage you to do. Stop thinking about yourself. (That’s a pretty basic concept for a Christ-follower). Find the way to where God wants you in your career, your goals, your place of worship. And STAY there till He tells you to move. NOTE: the first sign of trouble is not an indication that God wants you to move. In fact, none of the following are acceptable reasons for leaving a church:
*Church is too big/too small
*They don’t have enough programs for my kids
*They aren’t meeting budget
*They don’t appreciate me/my family enough
*That pastor/staff member never does… (fill in the blank with a thousand different things you could do in service to your church like hospital visits, writing potential members, inviting new people to church)
I think you get the picture. Contemporary churches in America are filled with those who think that worship is about their preferences and that service is something limited to paid professionals. I am thankful for the many Ridgies who are changing that mentality and getting it back to what it needs to be. You guys really get this (most of you, anyway).
Wherever you are and whatever your place in your church, recommit yourself to serving God and the family of your church with all your heart. The Kingdom will be blessed and you will find more contentment than you ever would in your present self-focused existence.