Last year our Council identified four priorities that are guiding our efforts to move forward more effectively. Our first priority is fit: helping each ministry or team to find their place in our larger ministry in order to help each regular attender or guest to find their place in our church family. Our second priority has been to dedicate ourselves to learn to raise the spiritual temperature in every program or event we do.
The third of these four priorities has to do with serving. We are committing to helping each of our ministries (and each of our people) discover how they can serve others in the name of Jesus. Our challenge here is consumerism (or church shopping, to use a more familiar term). Consumerism is the trap of claiming a church because I like what it gives me.
Why is consumerism a problem? After all, what’s not to like about liking church. Consumerism is a problem because it robs us of the impact of Christ’s gospel. The scandal of the Gospel is that naturally selfish people like you or me can discover a love so radical that it shocks the selfishness out of us. In the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ we discover that even though we may be more broken than we would ever dare admit, we are still more precious in God’s eyes than we might ever hope. Not because we have somehow proven ourselves worthy of this love, but simply because God loves us so much.
That’s where consumerism begins to rob us of life. The more be begin to discover this drastic love of God, the more we find that our selfishness begins to ease. We begin to find that we can afford to give of ourselves to others. Every time that we choose to serve others we step a little further into this mystery.
Recreational “church shopping” gets this all completely backwards: we become preoccupied with what we can get rather that what we can give. Church becomes primarily about us, not primarily about God or those whom we might serve in his name.
The challenge for the leaders of New Life is to create an environment where this kind of giving away can become normal. Where Kingdom Kids can create cards for shut-ins, or where Student Ministry kids look forward to mission trips. Where Faith in Action is a way of life, not just an optional event once a year.
Where to you serve? Whom do you serve?