I’ve heard disgruntled church folks who make the same complain again and again. It goes like this: “I’m not getting anything out of this church! The sermons are dry, the worship dull, and the pastor boring.”
Most of the time, those people leave church, hunting for a better church to suit their needs. Some church-hop like energizer bunnies, never satisfied. Something is always not quite right.
I call this the “What can I get out of it?” attitude that has plagued the church. One reason is that there are too many churches. I never thought it was a bad thing to have more churches, but it’s true. People are spoilt for choice. Church has degraded into a consumer culture, likened to consumers choosing which restaurant to patronize. If it’s not to their taste and liking, they try another restaurant. We have become a self-centered people, only looking for what we can get out of it. If a handphone isn’t good, change handphone. If a restaurant isn’t good, change restaurant. If a church isn’t good, change church.
That is devastating to a church. Imagine if church goers keep a low commitment and rather not serve just in case they need to jumpship, nothing can get done. How can we combat this negative attitude?
Instead of having a “What can I get out of it?” attitude, replace it with a “What can I give?” attitude. See the difference? One attitude is self-centered, while the other is others-centered. I believe many Christians haven’t learnt a precious secret of Christian growth. Paul said this:
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’
Many Christians keep on receiving, but do not give. Christian growth depends on giving of your time, money, talents. You grow by serving and giving of yourself. When you switch from a consumer to giver mindset, you don’t need to find a “perfect” church, if there is really one!
If something is not perfect, go make a difference. Find a way to solve it. Don’t just complain and leave. Give something. Let me inspire you with a story of two seas in Israel:
There are two major bodies of water in the land where Jesus walked. One is the Sea of Galilee, a beautiful lake 13 miles long and 7 miles wide filled with fish and surrounded by lush foliage. Both the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea are fed by the Jordan River. There is really only one difference between these two bodies of water, really only one thing that causes the Sea of Galilee to be beautiful and alive while the Dead Sea is barren and lifeless. The Sea of Galilee has an outlet; the Dead Sea does not! Water flows through the Sea of Galilee. Water flows into the Dead Sea but not out!