I totally snagged that concept from Josh Benner. Read him, he writes some good stuff. I work in a restaurant, so I’m kind of an expert on that “customer service mentality” and how that is just totally the wrong attitude to take to church with you.
Ha! Half the time that’s also the wrong attitude to take into a restaurant with you, but I digress…..
As Americans we can be very consumer oriented, so, I expect to get fed, get entertained, get my needs met, get stuff fixed. That works just fine in commerce, in consumerism, well there can be some glitches, but again I digress. The point being, the church is not a restaurant, it is not a place we go to be served, to order what we want, to be catered to, to have our dirty dishes mysteriously carried away and disposed of.
That’s my favorite part of eating out by the way, something I never cease to be amazed by, to wonder at, where did all the dirty dishes go? It’s a really cool magic trick.
Anyway, “we are the church,” us people, us Christian individuals. The church is not really a building we visit on Sunday, or an institution. (Who wants to live in an institution, anyway?) The church is “us.” It’s a collection of believers, and that corporate fellowship, that opportunity to worship with some like-minded people, is priceless. It’s a huge benefit, it is in a way, like getting to go out to eat.
If you’re Baptist, it’s probably going to involve some literal eating too. How do we know there were no Baptists on Noah’s Ark? The chickens arrived, unfried. Sorry, I just love my never-ending Baptist jokes.
So going to church really is like getting to go out to eat, it really is about being fed in the sense that Jesus is the bread of life. But just the same, your church is not a restaurant, and I think that attitude really is a danger to the Western church as a whole, but also it makes individual people miserable. People who are church shopping like consumers are never going to be happy, because we tend to believe it is all about us. In a restaurant it really is all about us, and we servers do aim to please.
But a church has to serve greater needs, the bigger picture, the well-being of an entire community, and you get to be one of the servers rather than one of the customers.
It’s an odd quirk of mine, but I think I run the churchian complaint department. I can actually visit a church where nobody even knows me, and immediately hear of all the problems, issues, and really bad customer service. It’s probably because I often work in restaurants, and so I actually look like the one you should complain to about not having gotten enough tarter sauce or, where’s my ranch dressing?
We need to be praying always, for our pastors, for our church leadership, for our elders, for our greeters and janitors even. Far too often we are bad followers, we forget we need to be servers ourselves. We forget the church is not a restaurant.
I often find it so curious, in the Western churchian world we’re often all about leadership, leadership trainings, how you too can be leader! Having often been a leader myself, whether I want to be or not, I’ve often thought, what in the world for? Why would anyone in their right mind even want to be leader? It’s often a thankless job and a bit like that scapegoat of old, we kind of like to put the sins of the community upon our goats, ur, I mean upon our leaders, and then set them loose in the forest, pleased they will be running off with all our sins, as far from the village as possible……
All in good fun here, but what we probably really need are more followers trainings. We actually follow Jesus Christ. We actually serve His church.