Thursday, October 14, 2010

That New Church Smell!

What if

Let’s say it is time to by a car in the New-car Consumer household. This is an exciting time for Mr. New-car Consumer, he really loves new cars! The new designs and technology call to him the way drugs call to an addict. Needless to say this was not an event that thrilled Mrs. New-car Consumer. As a matter of fact, when new car buying time came around she barely tolerated it. Don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t upset nor did it cause marital strife, she just didn’t care. “Whatever” was fine with her. Once every now and then she would comment on the color of the car.

Let’s say it is time to find a New Car Dealership for Mr. New-car Consumer. Let’s take a sneak peak and see how he does this. How would you go about finding a dealership?

First, he finds one that advertises itself as the most friendly dealership in town. Friendly is important to him, after all one could never enjoy a dealership where no one greets you or talks to you. (Forget the fact that the dealership doesn’t deal ethically)

Second, he wants his dealership to have hip, exciting, and contemporary music piped throughout the dealership. The music prepares him for the new car buying experience. He has been to dealers who have that same old elevator-driven music that may have lyrics you can understand and actually hear but is boring and it puts you to sleep. Yawn! (Forget the fact that the dealership doesn’t deal ethically)

Third, the dealership Mr. New Car Consumer is looking for on the strip must have flags, banners and flashing lights. After all Mr. New Car Consumer reasons, if there is a lot of activity and flash, something must be going on! (Forget the fact that the dealership doesn’t deal ethically)

Fourth, it is important to Mrs. New Car Consumer that the dealership have something for the kids. The entire new car buying experience can be a long and tiring experience. She has had those kids all day along and all week long. This is her one time out of the house and she needs a place to drop her kids so she can experience the new car purchase without the hindrance of fidgeting kids. (Forget the fact that the dealership doesn’t deal ethically)

Fifth, it is important that the new car dealership is very relevant and up to date with the latest in technology, gadgets, surveys, polls, and happenings. It is important to Mr. New Car Consumer that his dealership is relational, missional, relevant, and can meet all his felt needs. (Forget the fact that the dealership doesn’t deal ethically)

Sixth, it is also important to Mr. New-Car Consumer that the dealership he chooses puts no pressure on him to become involved or to be active in any of the dealerships programs. Even if those programs are well worth it and even if they can benefit the community. After all, Mr. New-Car Consumer is too busy with his career, providing a living, raising a family, and pursing his own interests to want to become hooked up with a dealership that pushes you into car maintenance classes, how to protect your car, tips on extending the life of your car, the latest add-ons to your car, and etc. The dealership must respect his right to not be involved. (Forget the fact that the dealership doesn’t deal ethically)

Well that about covers it doesn’t it? Mr. New-Car Consumer has employed all the latest intell and data to choose the right dealership. It is friendly, it has exciting hip music, it shows all the signs of being the happening place in town, it has toys and games for the kids, the dealership is very relevant and update on the latest movement in the new car buying program, and it agrees not to push any other classes, activities, or service functions that would cause Mr. New-Car buyer to become involved. (All the while forgetting the fact that the dealership does not deal ethically)

Do I have to ask if you would buy a car from this dealership? You certainly would not. As a smart, informed, and accountable individual you would have done a little more  “homework”

This, however, is exactly how the majority of people today “shop” for a church. They shop as a consumer. They look to see what the church as to offer them and how the church can meet their needs.

The average believer wants friendly, flashing, exciting, relevant, kid-oriented programs, with loud cool music and no pressure to become involved or vested. The teaching and preaching ministry is rarely a concern to the average consumer-oriented “believer.” At best the average consumer-oriented believer wants a speaker that is funny, interesting, holds their attention, never steps on their toes, and knows the value of brevity.

The first thing that should be examined when one is looking for a church is the teaching and preaching ministry. Is the teaching sound? Is it expositional? How to Sermons may make you feel good, make more money, be a better citizen, or tickle your fancy, but does it build you up in the most holy faith? Does the teaching and preaching ministry exalt the Lord Jesus Christ? Does the teaching and preaching edify believers causing growth and service? Does the teaching and preaching ministry evangelize the lost? Do the congregants live out the biblical message from the pulpit?

Are all those other things wrong? Can you have a biblical teaching and preaching ministry and still be friendly, exciting, and active, have good music, minister to children, and hold you accountable? Yes! However, those ministries are truly far and few in between. They are not the norm.

The teaching is more important than any other program in the church. Look to the word first. The early believers and disciples devoted themselves not to the apostles’ music, programs, or dynamic personalities but to the apostle’s doctrine.

How do you choose a church?



The me, myself and I generation is geared to instant gratification and the god of entertainment. Tickle my ears at all cost is all they want to hear in church. Expository Bible teaching doesn't even make the top ten list on many searching for a church today. Sad :-(


IanH said...

Gregg, I had a copy on my e-mail from you. Hope I wasn't the cause.

We walked into a caring church that exhibited the fruit of the Holy Spirit. It was peaceful, taught a sound doctrine, Biblically based. The mood is uplifting and positive. It is also a church that believes in reaching out to the lost, the needy and to those that have not been exposed to the Word of God. We were "lucky", or as I prefer to think "guided" to that place we now call "home". Blessings, Gregg!

Arlee Bird said...

At the beginning of this year we brought in a new pastoral staff. Since bringing them in we have lost many of our long time members and attenders. One of the things that drove several away was when the new pastor cited in a sermon the "God hates divorce". Some who had been divorced did not come back after that. There have been some other similar incidents. My problem is that everything that has offended came directly from the Bible. Maybe our church had gotten too comfy and complacent and a place where sinners had felt safe and when they start getting the truth it was not what they wanted to hear.

Tossing It Out