Our time-period in history is a unique one in the fact that we have something called “Drive-Thru” restaurants. Got a car full of kids and sporting activities to get to? There’s a Drive-Thru for that! Not enough time on your lunch break at work? There’s a restaurant for that! The thing about a drive thru is the convenience. They are quick, cheap, and generally satisfying.
Today, however, this awesome phenomenon of quick and easy service has seeped into the church. There actually are a few “drive-thru” churches with a literal drive-thru, by the way. However, I’m not one for name calling and pointing fingers so we’ll just let them be. The part of this fast-food church phenomenon I want to look at is this: just like going to Burger King, a lot of people attempt to make church “their way” by getting only the things they want.
Want a long sermon? Drive-Thru! Want a short-sermon that makes you feel warm and fuzzy? Come on in! Want all the love of Jesus without any mustard, ketchup, or wrath of God? We can do that! Want a contemporary sermon? Drive on through! Want a church without babies crying? We got that, too! Do you see what I’m working with, church?
I will be first to admit I can be pretty picky about church. However, God has helped me to get the point that just because I don’t like something, or even just because I think something is important and should be included…that doesn’t mean it’s what God wants. I love a contemporary worship service. I love the energy of Winterfest. I love being part of those things, however, that doesn’t mean that everyone else does.
I’m trying to get at a point. I guess instead of just beating around the bush I’ll say it: church isn’t about you. It’s not about me. It’s not about what we want or think should happen. We come to church to worship the Creator of the Universe. We come every Sunday morning, hearts in hand, to glorify our King Jesus. We come every week to sit at the table of the Lord and share a meal in remembrance of Him. We come to get encouraged, uplifted, and strengthened in the word from a sermon. We come to be together because we can’t go very far in our walk with God alone without the help of brothers and sisters.
See, divisions and problems come into play when people begin to exalt their “preferences” over everyone else’s. “I will only sing from that song book. I don’t like it when the preacher says ____________.” I don’t like things that make it seem there is entertainment involved. I don’t like slow, old hymns. I could literally type forever about the “Me, me, me” mentality in church today. The hard part is this: we’re going to have to roll up our sleeves and really see that things we don’t “like” may be completely OK to God. On the other hand, we have to sit down and ponder that while something may be OK to God, does that mean we cause an entire group of people to fight over it and divide the peace of the community?
There’s a little sentence in Philippians four that shows us how we should handle these things: I ask Euodia and Syntyche to agree in the Lord (Phil. 4:2, NCV). Just agree, Paul says. He doesn’t say who is right and who is wrong. You know why? Because it doesn’t’ matter to God. I may not like it, you may not like me, we may not like something…but we have no right to divide, gossip, tear down, or hurt the body of Christ because of our preferences. Until the church get this and puts it into practice we will have a VERY hard time reaching out. That’s why Paul says, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). Let us get away from Drive-Thru church and become the church. Just something to think about. – Scott