Monday, April 11, 2011

Help! I go to a mediocre church!

Well, I don't really go to a mediocre church. I actually really enjoy my church [I'm not paid to say that], and I really do enjoy waking up and seeing what Southpoint Church has on the cards each morning.

But let's be honest, it's REALLY easy to slip into the mentality that your ministry or your church of your small group or your bible study or WHATEVER just isn't doing it for you.

And then maybe you voice this to your spouse, or your roomie, or whoever will listen to your commentary on how the music was a bit pitchy today or so-and-so is actually just such a know-it-all and you just wish that they weren't in your group anymore or the pastor sort of did a prooftext today and technically that verse was out of context and blah blah blah.

And then it just sort of just becomes this wildfire of complaining and everyone thinks that by complaining the world will be a better place.

I was talking to some friends the other day, and we decided that there definitely IS a place for constructive criticism (I'm not advocating walking around with rose colored glasses when your church is about to implode on itself), but in my case, I tend to criticize for the sake of...well...criticizing.

It's sort of like when you get a tub of Ben and Jerry's ice cream (Phish Food flavor for me) and in certain contexts it would be good to have like a couple of spoonfuls, but you actually just end up sitting there, scooping it into your mouth, bite after bite, until the pint is empty. Then you want to vomit everywhere and you realize, that wasn't a really gratifying decision, but it seemed fun at the time. That's sort of how criticism goes in my life.

I read this quote the other day by A.W. Tozer in the classic "The Pursuit of God" (which everyone in the whole world should read) and it sort of sums up in my mind what makes a great church. And the thing that I realized was that great churches and great small groups and great ministries don't start with the program; they start with the people.

Tozer says the following:
"Someone may fear that we are magnifying private religion out of all proportion, that the "us" of the New Testament is being displaced by a selfish "I". Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshippers met together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become "unity" conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. Social religion is perfected when private religion is purified. The body becomes stronger as its members become healthier. The whole Church of God gains when the members that compose it begin to seek a better and higher life."

Wow. It's simple. It's obvious. And yet, it's SO difficult for me to internalize.

So when I wonder, why is [insert Christian event here] so mediocre? I'm going to ask myself first and foremost, "Is it because my relationship with Christ is just...mediocre?"

Second (and secondmost?) I'm going to start to pray for the PEOPLE instead of the program. Imagine if you had a small group of people who were all tuned to God in their private lives...what would that group look like? Or on a bigger scale, what would a church or a ministry look like if everyone was tuned in to God on a regular basis?

I don't actually know what it would look like, but I think it would be a pretty spectacular sight.

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