Monday, March 21, 2011

Expecting Perfection in Church

My husband and I were talking last night about church.

Let me just preface this by saying, my husband works for a church. We love this field, and it is the life we choose. But working for a church, and even just going to a church, I have noticed for years that people expect perfection. Criticism is constant.

Not only do they expect perfection in the church, the leaders, the music, the ministries, what makes this concept so incredibly divisive and destruction is that perfection never looks the same from person to person. Everyone has their own ideas of how things "need" to be.

I started noticing it in high school. I started listening to people talk about church.

"I can't believe so-and-so sings in the choir. She can't sing worth beans!"

"The music today was terrible. I can't believe the leader chose that old song to sing, and the guitar player totally messed up in the 2nd and 3rd verses! Can't believe how awful it was. Why can't we sing that new praise song that everyone knows?"

"The Sunday school classes should be longer!"

"The Sunday school classes should be shorter!"

"We need more contemporary music."

"We need to hold to tradition and not be so trendy!"

"The sermon was just off today, didn't speak to me at all... I wish the other preacher was preaching today."

"The sermon was AWESOME today... Wish she preached every week!"

"I can't believe she let her baby cry in the service."

"The services should be family-friendly."

"We should NOT have screens in our sanctuary. I can't believe they would put screens at the front of the SANCTUARY! APPALLING!"

And the list goes ON and ON.

What's my point? You can't please everyone 100% of the time. And you know what? That's okay.

My other point? I refuse to be one of those people who gets caught up in silly, ridiculous details. Do I notice is someone missed a note? Sure. Do I care? No. Does it stop me from singing my heart out to my Lord and Savior? No. SHOULD it? Absolutely NOT. Do I notice if the scripture on the screen is a different version than the one being read? Yes. Am I going to go complain to everyone I see about how ridiculous that was and how someone dropped the ball and really messed up? No.

In the end, I go to church to WORSHIP, and learn about God. And to grow in community with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Yes, we all have our preferences. Yes, we have different tastes in music, different ways of learning, different abilities, focuses, etc. Isn't that the beauty of the Body of Christ? We should not let these differences divide us, and turn us into people who complain about every detail of every aspect of our church. And we most certainly should NOT let these differences turn us against each other.

"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."
Romans 12: 3-8

There it is! Straight from the Word of God! We all have different gifts. Different focuses. Different ministries that we care about. Different things that make us tick. Different ways of handling things. And that is okay. Different does not equal bad.

In fact, if Jesus were walking the earth today, he would be appalled at His people getting caught up in such nonsense. Jesus would be too busy actually LOVING people to care about all of these details and nonsense.

So why do we complain if the music has some missed notes? Does God care? No.

Why do we focus on whether the youth leader wears a tie? Does God care? No.

Why do so many people have SO much to say about... well... EVERY. LITTLE. THING. about church? Does God want you focusing on the paint on the walls and the clothes on our fellow members, and how the bulletin is printed? No.

Last time I checked, God wanted to be the focus in His own house.