I know a couple who is searching for a church to attend. I thought I might use this column to help them out.
She is looking for a church with traditional values - an established congregation with a welcoming spirit. He would like a church with a penchant for progress. A marriage of the two styles would be ideal, but if none can be found, they are willing to settle for a church with a praise band.
The music should be quasi-contemporary while still retaining the theological structure of the hymns of old. Theatrical lighting is a must, but the fog machine is optional. They would like individual chairs in the sanctuary, not pews.
This church needs to preach only the interesting parts of the Word with conviction, give practical application for the message therein and, please, keep the Sunday sermons under half an hour.
The nursery should be completely encased in a fire-retardant coating and have the latest in cognitive learning toys and equipment. Each room in the department should be outfitted with a video system that can be accessed through the church's smartphone app. Also, the couple doesn't want to volunteer for the nursery, but they want to use it.
Their Sunday school class or small group should be filled with other like-minded and same-aged couples who do not care that they flake on attendance about 50 percent of the time (one other caveat: they don't want to be pressured into attending, but she doesn't want to be ignored if she misses a couple of Sundays).
Every sermon should hold some relevance for her husband, otherwise, they will leave. The sermons should have a proportioned mixture of humor and insight. The pastoral staff should be jovial and not in any way intrusive into their personal lives. A minister should visit them only at hospital stays and family funerals. During this time, the couple asks that said minister offer words of comfort that completely sate any hunger for peace.
They are willing to give to the church, albeit intermittently.
The church calendar should be brimming with activities that minister directly to their family. They are willing to volunteer, but only if it fits in with their schedule and if he doesn't have to pray out loud. She'll help with vacation Bible school only if she doesn't have to lead a group and, oh, she'll miss on Wednesday because she has a thing.
The people should be friendly but not too friendly. The group should be a homogenous blend of geniality and compliance - no one who will challenge them to deepen their faith. Also, it would be great if members of the church were law-abiding citizens who rarely make mistakes and all of whom have a servant's heart.
If you know of any church that fits the bill, let me know. In the meantime, the couple will be waiting, daily missing out on the opportunity to see God work through imperfect people, organizations and situations. They'll never develop the grace that comes from dealing with difficult people in a church (1 Peter 4:10). They'll forfeit serving one another in love (Gal. 5:1). They'll miss the blessing that is a life lived among other believers (1 Cor. 12:26).
There will never be a perfect church because every church is comprised of imperfect people. I hope you find yourself offering grace to your church family this Sunday.
Email Jamie H. Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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