4 Ways People View Church1
You need the Church. The Church needs you.
In 1 Corinthians 12:26 Paul said, "If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it." In Romans 12:15 he tells the Church, "Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep."
You need the Church because the Church is the people of God who make up the family of God. When you go through hard times in life, your Church family suffers and weeps with you. When you celebrate things in life, your Church family rejoices with you.
Time and time again I have heard people tell me, "Seth, when I went through a tragedy, the people of the Church were there. They prayed for me, they brought meals to my home, and they visited me in the hospital or at home. I don't know where I'd be if if weren't for the Church." I've also heard people say, "It meant so much to me that the Church was there when we celebrated my daughter's wedding, or when we celebrated my son's graduation."
When tough times come, you need the Church. When good times come, you need the Church.
The Church also needs you.
In 1 Corinthians 12:12-26, Paul described the Church as the body of Christ. Just as a body has many parts that function differently, so the Church is made up of people of all ages, stages, ethnicities, social classes, abilities, and spiritual gifts. For the body of Christ to be healthy, everyone in it must contribute their gifts. Everyone must play a part with the unique gift that God has given them. If we were all the same, the Church would not be effective. Paul said, "If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be (1 Corinithians 12:17)?"
The Church needs you to participate and to use your gifts that God has designed for you to use. If you don't know your spiritual gifts, please refer to Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; Ephesians 4:11. You can also read the book Discover Who You Are by Jane A.G. Kise. Use your gifts to help strengthen the body of Christ.
Unfortunately, when it comes to Church, many people think, "I don't need the Church" or they say, "The Church doesn't need me."
There are 4 ways people typically view Church.
1. Some People View Church as a Pizza Delivery.
There are a group of people who have the view that "I don't need the Church." They see the Church as a Pizza Delivery. Today, you don't have to go to a Church building and be with other Christians, but instead you can watch a Church service online or on tv at your home. With many Churches livestreaming their services, you don't even have to leave your bed. Church has come to you. It has been delivered to you.
It's as if Church has become Virtual Reality. Christian Comedian, John Crist, recently did a silly video about a Virtual Reality game where you can worship at home. Here it is.
A livestream can be a great tool to reach people, and it can also encourage those members in the Church who are unable to attend, but Church at home cannot replace the experience of going to church and being with other believers (see Hebrews 10:24-25).
People who are able to go to Church with other believers but choose not to are what I call Hibernators. They are inactive or dormant for a period of time and choose to stay away.
2. Some People View Church as a Fast Food Chain.
Why do you go to a fast food restaurant? You want to be in and out. You put in little investment, and you expect fast service. Most of the time you probably go through the drive thru. If you go inside, you may want your kids to play on the playground, but you're not there for too long.
As you are there, you are evaluating your experience. If the service is fast, you're content. If there is a delay while you are in the drive thru, you get agitated. You also evaluate the customer service, the quality and quantity of the food, and if you go inside, the cleanliness of the restaurant and bathrooms. If you are unhappy with the experience, you simply choose to go to another fast food place.
Too many people today view Church as a Fast Food Chain where you go to the worship service, and while you are there, you critique your entire experience to see whether or not it is worthwhile to come back. You may even have your children go to the children's area during the worship service, and you make your decision to come back if your child has a good experience or not. No matter what, right when the service is over, you're outta there because you have things to do.
People who come in and out of Church are what I call Evaluators. Their view of Church is something to squeeze in to an already full schedule, and the Church is supposed to dispense enough religous goods and services to give them an appetite to come back again. If the music didn't meet their expectations, if they were not greeted at the door properly, if their child was not that happy, or if the sermon was not great, then they may not come back.
Both the Hibernator and the Evaluator says, "I don't need the Church."
Just like our day Paul was experiencing something similar. There were people in his time that didn't want to be part of the Church.
In 1 Corinithans 12:21 it says, "The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I have no need of you,' nor again the head to the feet, 'I have no need of you.'"
There were a few prominent and extremely talented members of the Church of Corinth who acted as if they could carry on their ministries without anyone else's help or with only the help of a few friends. They were given spiritual gifts of healing or speaking in tongues, and they looked down on those in the church who didn't have these gifts. They began to isolate themselves from others and became self-sufficient and self-reliant.
These people were overconfident in their abilities and didn't want to be a part of the larger Church.
As I think about these people in Corinth, I think about our culture today and how our culture prizes on individualism and independence. We are taught to be self-reliant and self-sufficient. We are taught to think, "I don't need you."
Too many people today don't understand the importance of the Church or make it a priority. A few years ago I wrote a blog titled, "Why Should I Go to Church?" You can read it here.
There is another group of people who think that the Church doesn't need them.
3. Some People View the Church as a Dine-In Restaurant.
What do you do when you go to a restaurant? You invest more time and commitment than you do a Fast Food place. You may sit in the waiting room for 15 minutes, then when you sit down, you spend more time with your family or friends, enjoying their company.
The thing about a Dine-In Restaurant is you are being served the entire time. From the appetizer to the dessert, you are served. You are sitting back and enjoying the company as others are doing the work for you.
I compare this person to a Church member who attends Church on a regular basis. They may go to a worship service and even sit in on a class or a small group, but they don't really contribute their ideas or even serve the Church.
These people are what I call Spectators. They observe all that is around them, but they still are not fully engaged in the Church.
Sometimes Spectators have the view that "The Church doesn't need me." They may say, "Well, I don't have a lot to contribute."
Paul says that each part of the body of Christ matters and is important. If you don't contribute the gift that God has given you, you are hurting the Church.
He says in 1 Corinthians 12:22-25:
On the contrary, the parts of the body that we think are less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body but that the members may have the same care for one another.
What Paul is saying is that the Church needs each one of us to function at its best. There are certain things that are hidden that are extremely important. Things like prayer, acts of service, acts of hospitality, and the gift of encouraging. All these are what Paul described as indispensable. They are essential for the church to function well.
Don't buy into the lie that the "Church doesn't need you." It does.
You need the Church. The Church needs you.
There is a correct way to view the Church.
4. Some People View Church as a Pot-Luck Dinner.
When it comes to a Pot-Luck Dinner, you help prepare the meal, you bring your dish to the dinner, you serve your part of the meal to others, you interact with all ages and stages of people at the dinner, and you even stay after and help clean up.
In order for the Church to be at its best, you need to bring your best. I call these people Contributors. You need to be a Contributor and use your gifts and abilities to help strengthen the body of Christ.
If you view the Church as a Pizza Delivery, a Fast Food Chain, or a Dine-In Restaurant, you might be thinking to yourself, "I don't need the church or the church doesn't need me."
I want to challenge your thinking by saying, "You need the Church, and the Church needs you!" Please begin viewing the Church as a Pot-Luck Dinner and become a Contributor.