I had a phone conversation with a good friend yesterday afternoon and we spent a decent amount of time discussing the topic of church. He recently moved and as a result is attempting to find a new church he can attend. His search has left him somewhat frustrated and disappointed at what church has become. You see, my friends main desire isn’t to be served but to find a place where he can serve. Unfortunately I feel he is in the minority on this one.
Somewhere along the line in our Christian journey I feel many of us have decided that the church is something for us but in fact nothing could be farther from the truth. As followers of Christ, the church was not made to serve us but rather we were made to serve the church. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t find a place where we feel welcomed and like what’s going on but it does mean we should analyze things in a completely different way than many of us currently do.
When we look at the biblical example of church we see something that doesn’t just happen once a week so we can get charged up and ready for the next week. The church is a place where we come together to serve those around us, something that is a culmination of what we should be doing throughout the week as a result of our commitment to Christ. “And the greatest of these is love” remember that statement Jesus made? He didn’t say, “and the greatest of these is to get what I want”. Sunday mornings is a time of growth, sure, but as believers it is more of a growth through service than it is growth through the message and music.
As we look at scripture we don’t see the deepest spiritual growth of the disciples occurring when Jesus spoke to the crowds, which was the early model for the New Testament church. They were often serving others during this time as an extension of the commitment they had made to follow Christ. They had the message, studied the teachings of Jesus and realized that serving others, who hadn’t found this gift yet, was the most important thing they could do. Did they still get something out of “church” absolutely but serving was what their first priority.
In Mark 10:45 we are reminded that even “Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” I think we would be wise to put things in perspective as my friend has and begin asking what we can do for the church instead of asking what the church can do for us.