Many times (if not most times) when I speak to someone who is shopping around for a church, when I ask him his opinion of a particular church, his first impressions revolve around the type of music of the church. Seldom do I hear about the Christ-centeredness of the service or the disposition of the members or their desire to reach their community and the Nations with the Gospel. And if that person shows any inclination to visiting a church a second time, it is oftentimes contingent on whether or not he was entertained by that church the first time around.
While it is of little surprise that American Christians are more concerned about worshipping themselves than God by the churches they attend, it is saddening nonetheless. For it is clear that we have been deceived into thinking that true joy rests in self-satisfaction, and we rob ourselves of our Joy by seeking it in entertainment rather than in Christ and him glorified.
The reason I think of this now is because this past weekend I was called to remembrance of a small church at Atlantic Beach called Bogue Banks Baptist. I, my wife, and a friend attended this church a Sunday we were at the beach, and the effects that this small church had on my opinions of church services is nothing short of profound.
Upon first glance, the church appeared to be your typical Baptist church, with its members in suits and ties and Sunday dresses and with its members at the elder end of the age spectrum. But that is where its similarities ceased. I strolled into the church that Sunday in my typical church garb–a knit shirt, shorts, and flip flops–and rather than getting the expected strange stares and the tacit how-dare-you’s, I was received warmly and lovingly. When the service began, the music leader (who just as well could have been the preaching pastor), read from the Scriptures and went out of his way to honor Christ with his words. The whole service consisted of this–of the Scriptures being read and Christ being glorified.
The style of music fit well with the members of the congregation, being akin to what you might expect in an old school Baptist church, but that did not matter in the least. Every song they sang was Christ saturated and honored him. Every person there, it seemed, sang from his heart to his Savior, and they enjoyed him that service, not the style of music. And no person left that service without hearing the Gospel at least ten times. What a blessing!
My purpose in sharing this is both to honor the church I attended, whose heart’s desire was to honor Christ, and to exhort us in our local congregations to honor Christ above all in our services. So often we are worried about putting on a show for the people and luring them by entertainment (*cough* *cough* C3), instead of by luring them by displaying Christ as majestic and worthy of praise. If we could grasp this in our churches and seek to show Christ as beautiful rather than our favorite genre of music, there is no telling the effect that that would have on our country. Just a thought.
Categories: Just a Thought