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What the Church Should Do...
By Mike Glenn
In the course of my ministry, there are some things I’ve learned to expect. While the largest attendance of the year is on Easter Sunday, the smallest attendance is always the Sunday after Easter. This, to me, makes no sense. After all, the resurrection of Jesus has just been proclaimed – everything is different — death has been defeated! The kingdom of God has been opened up for us!
And our response? We will stay home the following Sunday. Makes no sense.
The other thing I’ve learned is several times a week, every week, somebody will come up to me and say, “You know what our church should do?” Sometimes, these well intending friends aren’t members of my church. Yet, they have an idea of what our church should be doing.
Most of the time, I politely nod, reply that their idea is interesting and I’ll think about it. Other times, I might say that I’m not sure that’s something our church will be interested in.
If the conversation continues, I will ask them who or what they think the church is. There is no separate organization sitting over the side waiting to be activated by a good idea. The church is us. The most fundamental lesson we all learn is the church isn’t a building, but it’s the people. Whenever anyone says, “Here’ what the church should do,” what they’re really saying is, “Here is what we should do,” or “Here’s what I should do.”
There is no church without us. That “us” is the sum total of you and me.
But to others, especially members of my church, I’ll smile and say, “That’s a great idea. Get back to me when you’ve got it worked out.” Most people are very annoyed by my answer. I don’t know why. God had given them that burden, not me. I learned a long time ago, I can only do so much. I’ve also learned every follower of Christ is uniquely gifted and called to serve the Kingdom’s redemptive mission in the world. Maybe this is where God is calling you to this.
Most of our members are bored. Not with our worship services and not with our sermons, but with the entire church process. Every day, our members take care of their own lives and lives of their families, but when they come to church, they are encouraged to sit down and enjoy the show. The assumption by most people is church is what happens on Sunday morning in the sanctuary. If we aren’t able to attend on Sunday morning, we say we have missed church.
But church happens every day and rarely in the sanctuary. There’s a group of college kids who meet together on Saturday morning to serve breakfast at the downtown homeless shelter. That’s church. A group of golfers meet for short Bible study before playing 18 holes. That’s church. A group of retirees host an afternoon tutoring session for an underperforming school. That’s church. In each of these situations and thousands more like them, people use common kindness to begin a conversation about Jesus.
When Christ followers use their unique giftedness to engage their unique situations for the cause of Christ, church always happens.
Then something else happens. People start showing up on Sunday morning bringing their own worship with them. They have seen God work during the past week. From that, they anticipate what they will see God do in the coming week. The church will worship because the church has been engaged with God on His redemptive ministry in the world. These Christ followers are closer to God than they’ve ever been in their lives.
It’s not because of the song they’re singing. It’s the reason they’re singing.
So, remember the next time you want to walk up to your pastor and tell them what you think the church should be doing. After all, we’re the church. You and me. There’s no one else. There’s no one else to do whatever it is you think should be done.
If the church is going to do something, it will be done by you or me. We’re the ones God has called. We’re the ones God has sent.