No one is off the hook when it comes to serving Jesus. In our American culture, church has become a place we go to on a certain day of the week. It’s a place where we sit attentively and interact minimally. We watch a select few lead in worship and a single individual deliver a message. Then we get up and shuffle orderly out the door and back into our lives.
We might have some coffee, donuts, and shallow conversation on our way in or out of the building, but that’s about it. For many, this is the extent of their church-going experience. We’re not involved or invested. It’s become a selfish and borderline narcissistic exercise.
When did being the body of Christ become such a detached experience? As Paul points out in Ephesians chapter 4, we all have distinct roles to play within the church. We have different gifts for the purpose of working together and being intertwined to form the whole. We are one body, with one faith, one mission, and one God who is Father and Creator of all. The local church should not be a museum or weekly sight-seeing tour. It exists to further the mission of Christ. I fear we’ve turned it into something completely different. As a result, it teeters on the brink of irrelevance.
Among other things, Bill Hybels is known for teaching the local church is the hope of the world. He says this because the local church should look like Jesus to the world. If we as the body of Christ are not exemplifying and reflecting the love and character of God, how else will those far from Him hear? How else will the hurting in our world know where to turn for help? Make no mistake, it takes every one of us, working together, working in unity, to make the local church effective and able to fulfill its mission.
Your local church needs you to play your part. It needs me to play mine as well. It does not exist for our entertainment. It does not exist to be a checkbox on our spiritual to-do list. If the local church is indeed going to be the hope of the world, we’ve got to do our part in making it shine like Jesus. One of my spiritual mentors, Greg McClain, once put it this way: “Are you looking for a cruise liner or a battle ship?” When you attend your local church, are you expecting to be served or do you come looking for ways in which you might serve others?
Your local church needs your gifts to complete the picture we are painting together. Together, we can be an unstoppable force of love and light in our ever-darkening communities. We need an old-fashioned revival. We need people who are more concerned with others than themselves. We need those unafraid of a little discomfort instead of masses seeking their own comfort. What can you do today to help your local church make a difference in your city? Together we can change not only our neighborhoods, but we can spread the light and love of Jesus throughout the world.