If you've read some of my previous posts, you probably understand the struggle I've always faced with the institution of church. Don't get me wrong, I love the community that church provides and the opportunity for growth, but I think the way that the majority of us do church has a tendency to stunt us instead of grow us.
I've been taking part in a small group that is exploring what it means to be a missional church as opposed to an institutional church. This week, we hit right on the area of church that has always just not felt right to me: church addiction.
As Christians, we always hear about those groups of people that come to church on rare occasion; that just kind of have it there as a comfort or a crutch. We rarely talk about the people that are at church for every single occasion, also using it as a comfort or a crutch. The people that make sure to never miss a service, always take the opportunity to get involved, assume every position of leadership, and, in doing so, never take the opportunity to reach out of the church.
Now, I think involvement in church is vital. It shows a willingness to serve, helps to build community, offers a way to mentor, and it's fun. But when church becomes all about church and not about the mission of Christ, something is wrong.
I've found that there are two types of people that volunteer for church ministry. Whether or not we want to agree, one motive is right and the other is wrong. The first type of person volunteers because they believe that it's their duty as a Christian to serve others in whatever ways they can, and they're happy to do it. These are the people that are willing to show up, do the work no one else really wants to do, and don't expect any type of recognition for it.
The other group is made up of people that are looking for a position of importance; they want to be recognized for their service. This is the group that I've always just felt strangely about. They use ministry to elevate themselves to some sort of position of power, and then they expect people to recognize their power and their sacrifice. For them, the service is about putting themselves above the "average church-goer;" going to church is about doing church, not pursuing God.
I used to be the second type of person. Whenever I volunteered (church and elsewhere), I always wanted to do some sort of work that would be noticed. I didn't want to stay after and clean up chairs. Or setup the stage. I wanted to do things where people would notice me, where they would see that I was helping. They would see I was important. Thankfully, God has shown me the truth about what serving is. Even so, when I volunteer to do something, I have to kind of put myself in check. I have to make sure I'm doing it for the right reasons.
Church is not about finding a place of power (however small). Church is not about spending every single night in the ministry office. Church is not about making people recognize your sacrifice.
Church is about Christ and His people. Church is about experiencing Christ, growing in Christ, and sharing Christ. Church is about leaving the comfort of a building and going out into the world to bring hope to the hopeless.
We need to make sure we're addicted to the right kind of Church.
"It is imperative that Christians be like Jesus, by living freely within the culture as missionaries who are as faithful to the Father and His gospel as Jesus was in His own time and place." -Mark Driscoll