Church Shopping List: What Are You Looking For?


The 21st Century Retooling of the Church – Part XXXXIX

While sitting in a restaurant this weekend, I could not help but overhear the people at a neighboring table discussing their spiritual lives, and what they were looking for when “church shopping”.  It made me stop to think about how American’s “shop” for a church like they shop for groceries or a new outfit. The list could included:

-  A good pastor who preaches “the Word of God”

-  A style of music I like during worship

-  A friendly atmosphere

-  One that has “life”, a mixed age group church

-  An excellent children’s and youth ministry

Today, all those “wants” on this list are fulfilled by a “staff” rather than by the congregation itself: A pastor, a worship leader or choir director, children’s & youth pastors, small group pastor or administrator.  The bigger the staff, the more appealing it becomes because less is demanded of the one attending.  One can get all these dividends without much being required.

Would church look different if the five fold were in effect, if the church actually prepared “the saints” for the work of “service”? 

The church would have to prepare the “saints” to read the Word, the Bible, themselves, and study the Word through the leading of the Holy Spirit, birthing the “teaching” spirit within it.

Worship would true “body ministry” time with all five passions present: teaching through the teacher, ministry through the pastoral, activation through the prophetic, and birthing through the evangelist, while over sight and order is established through the apostolic.  “Worship” would be defined by the make up of the congregation giving back to the Lord what he has given them.

The pastoral gifting within the body would not only create a friendly atmosphere, but develop one beyond that level, one of caring and nurturing.

Life would be created by activating the Logos, written Word, into the Rhema, living Word, as believers would live out their faith, walk the walk of their faith journeys together, sharing with one another, developing community.

Gifting in the five fold is developed across all ages from the self-centered small child, through the rebellious youth stage, through the seeking of finding oneself in their twenties, through developing families and parental skills, through development of character and leadership.  The equipping of the “saints” is developmental.  Church, in the past calls it sanctification.

So instead of looking for a church that will bring me comfort and meet my needs and likings, maybe we should look for a church that would “prepare” or “develop” my spiritual life and growth for the “work” of “service”.  That is a different mindset maybe we, as Christians, should develop.