Before I buy anything I often get weighed down trying to make sure I’m buying the right product because I like to weigh all my options. Why? Because I have options. I could buy this product or service from many different places and I’m looking for who has what I want.
The same is true with the Western church. We have lots of options, and it is probably one of the most crippling things about us. While this variety of options does give us the ability to choose a worship style or church structure we prefer more, it elevates something above Christ. It elevates our preferences, or more specifically ourselves, above Christ!
When I say preferences, I mean how we “DO” church. How your service is put together, what day or time you gather. How many times a week you gather, the type of building you use. The type of clothes you should wear, worship style and on the list could go. Notice that nothing I listed was a doctrinal matter but more a matter of preference.
Instead of coming together anticipating the goodness of God in Christ, declared thru the gospel as the forgiveness of sin by grace through faith. We come anticipating other things, our preferences.
This mentality robs the Church the ability to be a diverse group of people. Rather than living among people with a variety of preferences, we choose to seek harmony in finding people who think like us, not living in self sacrifice like we see in the Gospel. (For example it was Christ’s death that brought us peace and forgiveness)
How would we function if there were no options? How would you approach the Church if you didn’t have a choice in where you worshiped?
Now I’m not saying there aren’t reasons to find another place of worship. Some of those reasons included unbiblical teaching, abusive leadership, churches with ministries that cater to specific needs(the deaf for example). So don’t take my words here and misconstrue them.
What I am saying is that we don’t know what it means to be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:3. We don’t know how to fight for the unity of the Church to be rooted in the gospel message even when we are being tugged by our preferences. There is nothing wrong with having preferences but if we live in light of the Gospel daily we should be putting our preferences aside for the sake of the of the gospel.
So I’ll leave you with this question. If there was only one church in your city but it was totally opposite of what you normally attended, would you attend? Do you see the church as a combination of preferences that you may or may not like? Or is it the people of God on the mission of God, proclaiming the message of God (the Gospel)?
Do you find harmony/unity with people by finding people who think and like the same things as you or do you find harmony/unity in living sacrificially and constantly denying yourself and putting others first?