Since the inauguration, there has been a lot of interest in which church the President and his family would call home. He has yet to commit to one, and says he’s still shopping around a bit. I’m a little interested in what exactly he is looking forward. Upbeat worship? A vibrant children’s ministry department? A funny preacher? A neat website? A comfortable setting? A culturally relevant church? Those are certainly things most people look for today.
At the end of the article, you see that the premis is somewhat flawed. The author concludes with this statement:
Or does he look for what church is going to faithfully preach the Word of God as it’s authority? Is he going to look for the best place to use his gifts that God has equipped him with? Is he going to examine doctrinal statements and philosophy of ministries? A church passionate about discipleship and evangelism? Those would certainly be the good things to look for, but I doubt those come up on his radar.
Like everything else the President will do, it will be a calculated move that can bring about the most positive buzz. It will most likely have to be a church that isn’t controversial over issues like abortion, marriage, or the role of women. And any church that would be exclusive about the truth of Jesus Christ and the reality of Heaven and Hell won’t even be an option. He’ll look for a church that conveys a well rounded American, but is also culturally and ethnically diverse.
I read this article on this topic and the larger topic of the modern church hopper. It says that one in seven American adults switch churches each year. Then there is one in six that just attend multiple churches. The article points out the distasteful side effects this has had on churches, namely the hokey business strategies some have employed to get people to choose them. There are even people you can hire to be a ‘mystery visitor’, someone who comes in and pretends to be visiting, but who is just being critical of how they are handled.
This consumerism that has seeped into church goers has reversed the responsibility in the relationship. Instead of the church goer asking what they can do for their church or even asking the right questions of the church, people approach the church with a checklist of preferences that must be matched to gain their approval. And that checklist rarely reflects a Biblical view of church. In the consumer culture, it has become a buyers market, forcing the ‘sellers’ to bend to the consumer.
But the church is not to be a ‘seller’. It is to be in the business of proclaiming the truth of God’s Word, training and equipping the saints to reach the community around them, and providing opportunities for corporate worship, prayer, and fellowship. It is a place where believers are drawn to, in order to execute the gifts God has equipped them with.
“Knowing that churchgoers have so many options should keep pastors and preachers on their toes. In that sense, church shopping transfers a bit of power from the pulpit to the pews. And keeping a check on the power of church leaders is never a bad idea.”
The power here, is thought to be behind the pulpit, but that would be inaccurate. That may be the case in many churches, probably the majority even, but the pulpit does not lie behind the pulpit. The authority lies on the pulpit. The church is to be accountable to and submissive to the Word of God, not to a man.
So what is a church to do? Remain faithful to the authority, the Word of God, and trust Christ to build His church. After all, its His bride.