I love working out at my health club. There are an abundance of cardio and strength training machines from which to to choose. After a rigorous workout, I can choose to swim, jump in the hot tub, or relax in the sauna and steam rooms. My club even supplies free towels! Afterwards, I can dine in the healthy on-site cafe for lunch. It’s like I am on vacation every time I go there and I leave feeling refreshed and energized.
I was a member of another health club prior to joining my current club. It was nice, but it did not offer nearly as many amenities. I would often have to wait for the machines that I wanted to use, and it didn’t have a sauna or a steam room. It didn’t even furnish those wonderful clean towels and, there was no healthy cafe. Still, I really liked my old health club. It was close to home, and the price was right, but you get what you pay for. It wasn’t until my daughter, Kira, convinced me to try the new club across the river, that I was immediately sold. It came as a price, though, as the new club cost much more. I concluded that it was worth it. I would have liked to convince the old club to add those nice amenities, but there was little that I could do about it. When I left the old club, I wasn’t missed. They didn’t contact me to ask why I quit, nor did they try to convince me to stay. They continued to operate business as usual, and cater to the clientele who were satisfied with their services. Coincidentally, many people these days have a health club mentality when selecting a church. They evaluate the amenities of the facility and how the services suits them. “Does the music suit me?” they may ask. “Are the services offered at a time that works around my schedule? Do they serve good coffee? Is there a nursery offered when I want to be there? Do I like the pastor’s sermons?” These questions are among many that are deal breakers when one shops for a new church. Expectations are high and if one congregation doesn’t deliver, there are plenty others from which to choose. Some churches, perceptive of this type of prospect, cater to the demands of the marketplace by making their facilities and services more attractive. While it is important for churches to remain relevant in a changing society, caving to the demands of the consumer minded worshipper isn’t likely to contribute to a healthy and stable church family.
Fortunately, as church members we can contribute to something that is much bigger than ourselves, by serving and investing our lives. The church is the body of Christ and everyone who chooses to be active in the body, has an opportunity to contribute in a unique way. If part of the body is not functioning, it hinders the rest of the body. People with the health club mentality don’t even become part of the church body, but treat it simply as a host from which they will depart to another host when it fails to serve them in the way that they expect. The church will always have its flaws, but it pleases our Lord and Savior when we strive to grow and cooperate as members of the same body. What does such a church look like and how should we function as church members? Join the conversation on Sunday evenings at 6:00 p.m. as Doug Owens facilitates the book study, “I Am A Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes the Difference.” Hardcover books are available today in the church lobby for a $5 contribution.
Blessings and peace!