Monday, September 01, 2008

How to Be an Ineffective Church Member III

Only Take
“Take Away Church” is all the rage these days, in fact there is one on every street corner. It is the new way of doing church in this “get what you can and can what you get” age. Adopting this selfish, self-centred mindset will provide you with the ideal slippery snake for scooting down to ineffective church membership.
You must think of church life as a local takeaway laid on entirely to satisfy your every need. Don’t for one moment imagine that your local church is for the glory of God and the sphere where you are to utilise your Christ given gifts in the service of others. Try and see your local church with its busy programmes as a hot food outlet, which you can visit when you feel a little spiritually peckish and scan the menu for that essential ingredient that you enjoy and avoid everything else.
In “Take Away Church” you will notice that there are some people busy behind the counter. Don’t for one minute feel pangs of guilt when you see their sweat beaded brows, and at all costs don’t offer to lend a hand. After all they have nothing else to do and you are so busy. You simply couldn’t fit in any more to your busy schedule: Monday evening it’s badminton club, Tuesdays you have your weekly dose of soaps, Wednesday (MW night) you have those extra swimming lessons, Thursday you help with the Youth Work in 1st Whatever, Friday is your evening for walking the dog, Saturday you play golf in the morning and do the shopping in the afternoon, Sunday is your only morning for a lie in, a good snooze in the afternoon and visit the relatives in the evening. You couldn’t possibly fit in any time to help out at the Take Away.
Don’t take in too much by way of showing up when the church family meets for worship. You might stumble on to a series of body life sermons where the minister will be laying it on thick about the need for everyone to do their bit. Once a fortnight should be enough to keep spiritual starvation at bay. Not in your wildest dreams should you consider becoming a twicer (am & pm worshipper). This would be ineffectiveness suicide.
In this era of “Take Away Church” you need to develop skills in sermon tasting. Make sure that you do the rounds of all the Harvest Services, BB Enrolment Services, Children’s Day Services, Christmas Carol Services, My Gran’s Got a New Coat Services just to see what’s on the menu in the other Takeaways.
Don’t for one moment imagine that anyone in your Takeaway will miss you, after all you are not even a regular customer now that your family has four months out each year at your new holiday home.
Of course there will be times when you will need just a little more than the odd sound bite of Biblical matter. For those dark days remember that you are entitled to the undivided attention of the minister, elders and the church members, after all you are a paying member. Anyway, that is what the minister gets paid for and Mrs Jones has nothing better to do than call to see your family with a casserole each week. DO NOT feel guilty and avoid any desires to pledge yourself to helping others.
When you make your twice-monthly trip to church, remember, in and out as quick as you can. Arrive late and don’t linger at the close of the service or you will begin to see that there are others with needs and that you might have the where withal to help them. It is best to join in the stampede for the door and see if can you make it first off the grid from the car park three weeks in a row.
Remember church exists for YOU!
Bible Bits to keep clear of: Hebrews 10:19-25, I Corinthians 12:7

The Courage to be Protestant David F. Wells £14.99

David Wells is a master at clearly and concisely diagnosing the spiritual state of the Western World. This latest book to come from the writer started off as a summary of his other books but evolved into a master class of the evangelical landscape. Wells highlights in this book how the church of the Western world is anything but protestant, that she has well and truly lost her way, come adrift and is about to crash on the rocks. Wells is fearless and yet gracious in his critique of much that likes to consider itself evangelical. This 250 page book is not for a sleepy read but one to be thoughtfully poured over. In chapters on Truth, God, Self, Christ and the Church Wells helps the reader understand the postmodern mind and why people think as they do in these areas. This book is a must for preachers and pastors who want to make sure they do not lead their churches unto the jagged rocks of this post modern world. It is a must for preachers who are keen to ensure that their preaching is truly protestant. For those who have time and opportunity to meet up with others to reflect on the contents there is much here of contemplation.