Whom Does the Church Serve?

Leading a church is a difficult task, mainly for the expectations that are now placed upon the clergy and the members of a church.

 our consumer culture the pressure and emphasis is to provide a commodity that people will want.  In order for this to happen the church must acquiesce to the consumer.  In mega churches that I know of, there are coffee shops and book stores, a gymnasium, all kinds of programs to promote family unity, yoga, and a band for Sunday Morning so people can tap their feet to the gospel.

In smaller churches were it is difficult to compete with the drop down menu of larger churches, they attempt to offer a friendly place, some type of programs to meet select needs, a well kept building and the good old songs, (yet there is pressure by some to follow Christian radio and the “new songs”).

With all of these options we have decided what it is that God wants.  Obviously more numbers, more bodies, and more dollars to pay for the extras.  Advertising is not out of the question, after all if we have a good product others should know.  If the value of the stock is to arise and if there will be dividends to long time members then commercials and slogans and new carpets are on the agenda.  Small church large church mega church it doesn’t matter.  The purpose is all the same. Worship the Church and those within as having the best presentation.

Lost in our modern drive to make the church like other good organizations is what we have to offer that is uniquely the good news.  Not in its conservative, nailed down and sifted form or in its liberal social justice emphasis but in its old dusty and now moldy meaning.

The message was that of being called out to be different than the culture.  To eat together, to study and discuss together, to be a community that stood for something more than the latest christian or cultural trinket or cliche.  It was a belief that nothing was impossible, change is the norm not the exception, but a change in hearts not the latest Christian CD.  It was a belief that issues of justice were more important than how the building looks on TV.  It was a movement that set the empire or government on its heels, not promoted the sanctuary flags and rhetoric of God Bless America, as if God, or worship, wouldn't exist with out the Government.

When was the last time the church stood and said, we won’t stand for racism or sexism, or separating anyone out to be culled by the powers of the empire.  When was the last time the voice in the nave said we we are a greedy, self centered culture and live counter to the gospel.  Not any one who wants to stay in their present church or not call down the wrath of Bishops or denominational leaders.

Whom does the church serve?  The members, to make sure the doors are open, until the new fade disappears?  The culture as we purchase belly button, ear, and nose rings to pierce the body to match the crosses we hang around our necks and put on belt buckles?  The powers of darkness when we refuse to speak of negative truths, hard directions or the call for sacrifice of ourselves and wealth?  The false gods we sacrifice our children to so that we can be good soccer moms and hockey dads?

Is it the living and moving God who says, behold I do a new thing, do you not see it?.  Is it the God who demands a sacrifice sometimes the ultimate sacrifice to determine whom we really serve? The poor are still hungry.  Is it the God who ways you will not use my name to promote your wars, your team or your political party, to do so is blasphemy. But corporations are people too!   Is it the God who says give up what you have in order that I might provide something better? But we can have it our way, just ask anyone who is anyone.  Is it the God who sends us messages day and night to attempt to develop us individually and as a people?  But the TV said that we need to spend money to help the rich get richer.

Maybe the church does serve a god, just not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Whom does the church serve?  We may not want to face it, but lets hope and pray its not us.

danahouck1@gmail.com  Phone 507.339.0045