You may want to put on steel-tipped shoes before you continue reading. In part 1 and part 2, we talked about the word ‘church’ itself, parenting, and money. These last two traditions have to do with our attitude and our interaction with church itself.
5. Thinking ministers are there to do all the work. I once had a heated conversation with a Sunday School teacher who told me it wasn’t his job to actually get to know the kids he was teaching. He was just there to show up and teach the Bible. My job was to build relationships. That’s what I was paid for. It’s easy to think that ministers are there to do all the work. Besides, what do they get paid for if not to do the work of the church?
Ephesians 4:11-12 says, “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” The job of ministers isn’t to do all the work of the church, but to equip the body to do the work of the church. Think of it like the NCAA. No one would expect coach Nick Saban of the Alabama football team to go out and play all the positions on the football field because he was the only one getting paid. No, he’s just the coach. He equips the players; they’re the stars. Same thing at the church. The staff are the coaches, the members are the players on the field, the stars.
6. Thinking the church exists to serve you rather than being your opportunity to serve others. I once worked at a church where I described my job this way: I was the activities director on a cruise ship. Many of the parents came in expecting to be catered to. They’d drop their kids off with me and expect me to entertain them for an hour until they got back. That tendency runs rampant throughout the American church. We think the church exists to meet our needs. Isn’t that why the number one excuse given for people leaving the church is, “I wasn’t being fed?”
In Mark 10:45, Jesus clearly states, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus didn’t make life about him. Neither should we. If we can change this fundamental attitude in us (that the church exists to serve us), then the rest of these traditions become so much easier to tackle.
QUESTION: What traditions would you add to this list?