Sometimes I find myself surprised if not down right cynical when it comes to matters of people attending church and who are stuck where they are at. That is, to say, that when you and I visit a church or join a church what is our criteria? For my wife and I (when we first got married) we had some important criteria before joining a church together (as a family) and wanted to worship God:
- Are they a Bible believing church?
- Do they believe in the Bible and use the Bible as their sold authority?
- Is there any compromise to scripture?
- Do they have a healthy, vibrant and clean children's ministry (this was important to us because 12 years ago my wife was pregnant and that was really important to her)
- Are the children in a safe environment?
- Is there accountability in preaching? in Teaching? and in oversight (are there elders, a consistory or a board)?
- Is the preaching and worship relevant to our daily lives?
As I get older (more cynical) I find myself in tongue in cheek conversations where I hear people say things like:
- I like this pastor over these other pastors because....
- I like this worship leader over other leaders because....
- I don't really feel like the preaching or worship meets my needs....
- The men's bible study is too early...why can't they have a different time or evening or daytime?
- What's up with the youth these days?
- I am not happy with this (fill in your blank)
The cynic in me chuckles to myself and asks the proverbial question(s):
- Why do we go to church?
- Who are we there to worship?
- Is church about my needs and my wants and my desires or is it about my act of worship toward the One who paid it all (for me)?
- Are we going to church because of a Mega Pastor or talented worship?
These leaders are where we have to honestly draw the line if we are true disciples of Jesus Christ.
Don't misunderstand me in saying this because I love our worship team and I love our pastors and my church and if you were to ask any of these pastors, elders and deacons and worship leaders (and they were worth their salt) they would tell you and I that it is all about Jesus and what the Holy Spirit does. What God has done for us and who we should be there to worship. FYI - our church is not small at roughly 4000 to 5500 between all the campuses.
Please do not take this as me being critical to mega-churches because I am not. There is a lot of biblical and godly preachers that depend on the word and Jesus only - I am not talking about these men. I am referring to those of us who come to be entertained instead of worshiping the one and true living God.
Knowing what He has saved us from, we should not have any other posture in corporate community except to serve and to pray and to worship together even if that requires us to be on our knees in prayer and thankfulness - we should do it!