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:
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.