Thursday, July 29, 2010

Does the Quality of a Church effect the Commitment of its Members or Vice Versa?

Summer is winding down and our youth program is gearing up for kick-off of some fall ministries that have taken the summer off. It's been on my heart to see that our students start the year off with a deep sense of commitment to the program so that we can build some momentum to get the program rolling. So as I have thought about this the last few days, I have thought not just about our church's youth ministry, but how the principle of commitment applies to the church universal.
We live in a consumer society. If a company makes a good product, people will be loyal to that product. They may even buy that product even when they know it is not in their best interest to use or consume that product. For example, I love Dr. Pepper. I know that too much DP will make me fat, sluggish, and not sleep very well at night. But it tastes so good that I will have one on a fairly regular basis and try not to consume too much of it.

I think that is the mentality with which many of us approach church. If we like the pastor's sermons, or we like the music, or we like the people who attend their, we will move our membership to that church and will be loyal to that church so long as the pastor is preaching good sermons and the music remains enjoyable. Then when one of those factors changes, we are not as committed to the church because we are not "getting as much out of it" any more.

But what happens when our commitment to a church is not based on "what we get out of it"? What if the church is made up of people who are committed regardless and are there to serve the congregation any way they can? The only way to have a committed congregation is to have a congregation of committed individuals. When the people are collectively committed, the church has excitement, enthusiasm, direction, resources, and synergy.

I buy Dr. Pepper because it tastes good, and if they changed the way it tastes (anyone remember New Coke?), I would probably not buy it any more. But I've been in many churches that have lost a pastor or a key musician and have seen people leave the church because they felt it just wasn't the same any more. But when a congregation is made up of committed individuals, the church becomes less about the quality of the music and the rating of each sermon on a scale of 1 to 10, and it does become about what individuals can do to serve one another. The one hour of preaching and music each week is simply icing on the cake because people are taking opportunities throughout the week to be the body of Christ.

Don't misunderstand me. If your church has no vision and you are absolutely getting nothing out of it, it may be time to move on. But don't question how much you get out of your church until you've considered how much you put into it. What do you see as the major differences between committed and uncommitted congregations and members?

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