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After losing 90 pounds a few years ago, I had to go shopping.
OK, those of you who know the whole story know that I probably took the
whole shopping thing a bit too far and that I will probably never have
to buy another suit, dress shirt, tie or pair of shoes for the rest of
my life. Up until that time, like most men, I didn't enjoy shopping.
Every two or three years I'd order the same shirt in 3 or 4 different colors
from a catalog and wear them until they were threadbare. Shopping,
to me, was a necessary evil.
Some Christians find Church shopping just as tedious. They
have a checklist of programs they want or styles and approaches they prefer
and start the difficult process of screening churches and Pastors to find
just the right church. Sometimes they are trying to find one just
like an idealized memory; other times they are trying to avoid a past mistake.
In his book, An Unstoppable Force, Erwin McManus mentions the
church shopping phenomenon when he writes, "'We're looking for a church
that meets our needs.' It seems like I've heard this one a thousand
times. The phenomenon of church shoppers has profoundly shaped the
contemporary church. The entire conversation is not about relevance
but convenience. The focus is not in serving the world, the church
itself became the focal point. Our motto degenerated from 'We are
the church, here to serve a lost and broken world' to 'What does the church
have to offer me?' This move has made the pastor the only minister,
while making the members the only recipients of ministry. What is
lost in this process is an army of healers touching the planet."
Like everything else in life, there is need for a balance here.
Certainly every member has needs for a church to meet. And the church
has needs for them to meet too. But what can never be lost in this
equation is that the world has needs that only the church can meet.
What is wonderful in God's design for the church is that while we work
together meeting the needs of other people in the church and the world
one of our greatest needs is met the need to make a difference in the world
and join Christ in the revolution He established 2000 years ago at the
For more information on An Unstoppable Force, go to http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0764423061/freshministry
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