The Danger of Self-Serving Churches
By Paul Tautges
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:3-5)
There is a self-centered, self-serving attitude that we can easily develop in our churches. It leads churches to become inwardly-focused. Church membership from a biblical perspective, however, is about servanthood. It’s about giving. It’s about putting others first. It’s not about…
1. Worship Wars
One or more factions in the church want the music just the way they like it. Any deviation is met with anger and demands for change. The order of service must remain constant. Certain instrumentation is required while others are prohibited.
2. Prolonged Minutia Meetings
The church spends an inordinate amount of time in different meetings. Most of the meetings deal with the most inconsequential items, while the Great Commission and Great Commandment are rarely the topics of discussion.
3. Facility Focus
The church facilities develop iconic status. One of the highest priorities in the church is the protection and preservation of rooms, furniture, and other visible parts of the church’s buildings and grounds.
Being a good steward of your church building is not a bad thing. But if the building takes priority over the people inside it, there is a problem.
4. Program Driven
Every church has programs even if they don’t admit it… The problem is not with programs. The problem develops when the program becomes an end instead of a means to greater ministry.
5. Inwardly-focused Budget
A disproportionate share of the budget is used to meet the needs and comforts of the members instead of reaching beyond the walls of the church.
6. Inordinate Demands for Pastoral Care
All church members deserve care and concern, especially in times of need and crisis. Problems develop, however, when church members have unreasonable expectations for even minor matters.
7. Attitudes of Entitlement
This issue could be a catch-all for many of the points named here. The over-arching attitude is one of demanding and having a sense of deserving special treatment.
8. Greater Concern about Change than the Gospel
Almost any noticeable changes in the church evoke the ire of many; but those same passions are not evident about participating in the work of the gospel to change lives.
9. Anger and Hostility
Members are consistently angry. They regularly express hostility toward the church staff and other members.
10. Evangelistic Apathy
Very few members share their faith on a regular basis. More are concerned about their own needs rather than the greatest eternal needs of the world and community in which they live.
What mindset does each and every one of us - including the pastor - need to have as a church members? The mindset of Christ, the Servant, is what we need the Holy Spirit to produce.
Editor’s Note: The following was adapted from 10 Traits of Ineffective Churchesby Paul Tautges. To read the full article, follow this link.
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