Church Sign: Church is Cancelled Due to Lack of Interest
Imagine driving up to your church next Sunday morning only to see this written on the church sign: “Church is cancelled due to lack of interest.” You’d probably call the pastor immediately and demand an answer. What does he mean “lack of interest,” you are in church nearly every week.
There’s an old saying in churches that “20% of the people do 80% of the work.” I’ve heard it all my life and, worse yet, watched churches slowly die as a result of its truth. The same people volunteer to teach classes, stuff bulletins, make meals for new moms, visit shut-ins, serve the community, and do it with a tired smile on their face while many others sit back and “do church.”
There’s another saying I have heard most of my life but seems to be getting more prevalent in churches (not to mention society in general). It goes something like this, “We are looking for some really great programs for our kids.”
This line has been used to describe the reason people decide to attend a church, and the reason they decide to leave a church. But there are several problems with this statement that reveal hidden dangers for families if they allow it to become their main criteria for selecting a church.
Hidden Danger #1: It’s driven by a consumer mentality. Our entire culture is consumer crazy. It’s why people get into such financial disasters, can’t hold a job, and live crazy, unbalanced lives. It’s the pursuit of the “latest and greatest,” the “next big thing.” This is not a criterion for selecting a church. Selecting a church is done through prayer, research, and Holy Spirit leading. The result of always wanting to be entertained and seeking to find the next big thing is continual church-hopping when the family eventually gets bored.
Hidden Danger #2: It’s all about the kids. Having great kids ministries is awesome, something I can understand every family wanting for their kids. But it’s not everything. If you allow your family to be led solely by the needs of the kids there is a good chance mom and dad will suffer and starve from spiritual malnutrition. Just because a church has great kids programs doesn’t mean they have everything a family needs to thrive spiritually. It would be wise to evaluate the other ministries of the church to determine if the whole family can grow and thrive together.
Hidden Danger #3: It’s entertainment centric rather than service oriented. I don’t think there’s a parent alive that doesn’t want their kids ministered to through an exciting, Gospel-centered program designed just for them. And there’s nothing wrong with this desire. The problem comes when the same parents wanting this program don’t want to help make it a reality. Who do we think makes these programs possible? Parents need to take an active role in ministering to children in the home, and in the church. The idea that church is the place we come to sit and do nothing isn’t biblical. Let’s look at this practically.
What if every person in the church decided they didn’t want to serve?
What if the set-up crew decided they didn’t want to serve by unloading and setting up every ministry area? Who would make your coffee?
What if the band decided they didn’t want to get to church early, set-up, practice, lead worship at two services and pack up before going home? Who would play instruments, lead singing, and change the slides?
What if the greeters, the people that fold and stuff programs, the children’s check in team, and others decided to stop serving because they just wanted to sit and be served?
What if the volunteers that serve our kids in the nursery and children’s church all decided they would rather sit and be served than give of their time and talents to make sure kids had a place designed just for them?
What’s the point of all this? First it’s to say that every church has a group that selflessly serves and gives in order to reach people, teach kids, share Jesus, and glorify God with their time and talents. Some churches have more than twenty percent serving while others are hoping to one day reach that twenty percent.
But the point is also to say that there are others out there that could be serving, should be serving, but are not serving. I don’t have to tell you that you should be serving; you know you should, but for some reason you have not pulled the trigger and gotten in the game. Perhaps you have a reason, schedule, busy life, etc. that is keeping you from serving; I’m sure every person that serves could cite something like this, but still they serve. Even a church with a large percentage of people serving will say that you can never have too many volunteers.
Jesus set the example when He said “Whichever of you will be the chiefest, will be the servant of all. Even the Son of man came not to be ministered to, but to minister…” (Mark 10:42-45)
Jesus was telling us that in order to truly be the kind of Christian He desires for us, we must have a heart to serve others. We cannot sit on the sidelines and demand great programs and activities and events and then refuse to take part in helping and serving. This is squarely opposed to the Gospel and the example Jesus gave us. We must put our excuses aside and be obedient to the command of Christ to serve. It’s one of the most basic principles of being a disciple of Jesus.