Things You Haven’t Heard About Leading Change – 10

In our last blog, we discussed the importance of getting your people outside the walls of your church as a catalyst to change. Indeed, until people see the needs around them, they will be unlikely to endure any personal discomfort to meet them.

This points to a critical issue confronting many churches–inward focus. We live in a consumer-driven culture and it’s no surprise that such a mentality has worked its way into the Church. So we do many things to “attract” people to church. We alter our music to their preferences, design programs to their tastes as well as their needs. The meaning of the word “relevance” has grown in the local church to encompass every effort we can make to grease one’s path toward our message.

Now, we absolutely need contemporary expressions of worship, so we are truly offering US to God. And every generation must effectively interpret and communicate the Gospel for its generation. But a byproduct of making the church more user-friendly is the encouragement of an even more pervasive consumer mentality.

So, we judge a church by how its programs and ministries fit us. We evaluate worship services by whether or not we felt ministered to. (Seems to reveal our misunderstanding of what worship means.) Little wonder that many pastors and church leaders are exhausting themselves trying to keep everyone happy. Their room is filled with customers who won’t come back if their not served well!

When our church focus becomes about us, we lose track of what following God is really all about. When asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus clearly put the focus on loving God and others, but consumerism places self in that central location.

In one place, He told us that if we would seek His kingdom first (God and others), He would take care of everything we need. In many places, it seems we’re less than willing to trust Him to do that. We want our needs met first.

While there are numerous implications to be drawn from this reality, the point for our purpose is that these tables must be turned if you’re going to effectively lead change and develop a healthier local church. Only when the eyes of our people are on God and on the needs of others around them will they be willing to sacrifice their own comforts. Any pastor will affirm that the biggest complainers are the ones that do the least in the ministry of the local church.

So take them outside. Let them see. And if they won’t go with you, bring the pictures inside. Show them the faces of the lost in your community. Give them a glimpse of the suffering they have the ability to help ease. Stop simply praying for their needs and lead them to pray for the needs of others, especially of those they do not yet know.

Self-centeredness brings a church down, but never to its knees.

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