What makes a church great? Good question, and one that would likely get plenty of different answers.
Some might immediately respond with a description of something occurring on Sunday morning. You know, a great church has great music or great preaching or really friendly people. Others might jump on the outreach efforts of the church or the ways that the congregation serves the community. Still others might point to the discipleship successes–the way people’s lives are being changed.
While these factors are very important and certainly add to the list of things great churches do and do well, there is just one problem with this list. It can be a little too focused on what OTHER people are doing at church. Good preaching means our pastor is doing a good job. Good music means we have excellent musicians doing their best. Great discipleship or outreach implies that whoever runs those programs is getting the job done.
But, my church can’t be a great church unless I’m giving my best too!
As I travel, I sometimes hear people complain about their church. Yes, it’s usually something off of the list above. You’ve heard the same kind of stuff. “I don’t like the ___________ at our church,” or “I think we should do ____________ differently.” Again, the focus is on something someone else is doing.
The bigger question may be, “What am I doing to help my church be a great church?” Now I realize that everyone can’t be the speaker. No, you don’t want to orchestrate a coup so you can personally improve the preaching. And if musical ability isn’t your thing, don’t feel obligated to inflict your friends by taking a microphone. Instead, find a way to give your best to what you CAN do to help your church be more effective.
For example, a friendly church is made up of friendly people. Are you one of those? Start treating your church’s guests like your own personal guests and help insure that they feel welcomed and at home in your church.
Take charge of your own discipleship by spending time every day reading and reflecting on the truth of the Bible, and have your own regular conversations with God. If you’re waiting on the church to grow you spiritually, well, studies have shown that’s not the best strategy for continued spiritual growth.
If you’re a football fan, you probably know the term Monday Morning Quarterback. Since most professional football games are played on Sunday, a Monday Morning Quarterback is a guy who has all the answers and knows what the team should have done on every play the day AFTER the game was played. Yeah, he’s brilliant with his shouldas and wouldas. Of course, when the game was being played, these guys were just watching from the sideline–no jerseys, no sweat, no real help at all.
Don’t be a Monday Morning Church Boss either. If you have the answers on Monday, why not start getting involved on Sunday? You can help make your church a great church by chipping in with your gifts and your heart and your desire to see your church do great things.
A great church is a place filled with great people doing great things for a more than great God. Be one of them and before you know it, you’re church will become a little bit greater than before.