HE ( THE PREACHER) DOESN’T TURN ME ON!
T. PIERCE BROWN
I’m thinking of quitting! The preacher does not “turn me on.” The service does not inspire me. And the elders do not give me anything to do. I’m not being fulfilled. People are not spiritual enough. As I was looking around while the Lord’s Supper was being observed, I did not see a single person with tears streaming down their cheeks, or their chin quivering. I might as well quit!
Maybe I need to quit! But what I need to quit doing is to quit looking at Christianity as a spectator sport, designed for the purpose of “turning me on.” I need to quit thinking of the elders as those who have to give me jobs to do for the Lord, and then give me public credit for having done them. I need to quit thinking of the church as a sort of “glorified country club” in which I must have membership to be saved, and which was planned for my good, welfare and enjoyment. I need to quit having to be pacified, babied and spoon fed by someone else, and “be no longer children” but “grow up into HIM in all things, which is the head, even Christ” (Eph. 4:14-15).
All of us need to realize that our first and most vital relationship is a vertical one — to Christ. All other relationships are horizontal, secondary, and derived from this. We do not need the authority of the elders to ACT LIKE CHRISTIANS!
There are actually church members (and even a few elders) who think the members have to ask the elders if they can have a Bible study with a friend! I personally know of two lovely Christians who were disfellowshipped because they set up Bible studies without consulting the elders!
Many of us have come to the place where we think the preaching is great if it makes us feel great (or, some, if it gives us a guilt complex!). The preacher’s primary job is to make us “feel” something! It is true that if you do not feel something, you are dead. It is certainly true that good preaching should help motivate one to action. But it seems that some have the attitude, “If you don’t make me better, you should be fired.” We come to watch the actor on the stage, and if he is not at least as good as a soap opera, and does not make us either want to laugh or cry, he has failed!
We have forgotten, or maybe never knew, that the worship of God is to pay reverence and homage to HIM — not to perform! Many of us seem to think that the work of the church consists of passing out bulletins, checking rolls, waiting on the Lord’s Table, leading a prayer, or maybe teaching a class. Or if we are especially talented, being in charge of something! And we realize that the elders have to APPOINT someone to do those things, and if we are not APPOINTED, we are DISAPPOINTED!
But the elders do not have to appoint you to call on some lonely person and listen while they tell you of their problems. You can find some appropriate materials to take to one who has had a loved one die, and share your love with them. You can go and pray with someone who is concerned with some problem. You can conduct a Bible study with someone in the privacy of your home or theirs. You can call those who are missing for any service and see if you can help with their problem. They have one of some kind, or they would not be missing, but you may have no idea what it is because you are so frustrated because no one has appointed you, “fulfilled you” and “turned you on.” Did you realize that one reason you are not “fulfilled” is that you are not FILLED FULL of Christ? Do you really know your purpose in life? What on earth are you doing here, for heaven’s sake? If you are not sure, you might read such passages as Acts 17:27, “to seek after Him and find Him.” Read I Cor.10:31″whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Read 2 Cor. 5:15, “That the life of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.”
Do you have to ask the elders to assign you to that job, or have you passed beyond the baby stage where you can do it on your own? Remember the admonition of Paul in Ephesians 4:14-15. Instead of having to be spoon fed and cuddled, try manifesting the mind of Christ by serving others!
While we admit that some elderships have not allowed women to have the same opportunities for input into the work of the church as they have allowed men, one of the reasons for the upswing of the “women’s lib movement” within the church is the concept that the women are relegated to a second class citizenship in the kingdom if they do not have the chance to lead the prayer, teach a men’s class or preach. Strangely, most of them would probably deny that the preacher is any greater in the kingdom than they are, but for some reason they assume they are looked upon as inferior because they are not given the opportunity to do his job! I knew of a couple who decided to move to another congregation because he was not given the “honor” of waiting on the Lord’s table as often as some others. Perhaps elders should consider having some brass plated plaques made with such messages as “Chief bulletin folder” to pass out to those who need to be given some position of honor in the work of the church.