You have perhaps heard it from a church going person at some point- "I no longer go to that church because I just didn't feel connected". Or perhaps you have heard someone say, "I didn't like that church because they did not have many people my own age." Let me be clear in my response to those comments... Church isn't about you!
Now that I have your attention, let me clarify my statement. We live in a "me first" culture today. This "me first" mentality is certainly not limited to today's culture, but one that is prevalent in the mindset of many. Think about it, every company is out there to gain your business and they do so based upon catering to your needs. That's called "good business". But a church is not a business.
Sadly, in order to cater to the needs of the people, many churches create another program, another discipleship group, another outreach event, another children's class, another... (fill in the blank). Creating another program to meet the spiritual needs of people is certainly not wrong- it's necessary. But creating another program in order to "keep" the people that believe church is about them is missing their greatest spiritual need- a Biblical understanding of what church is.
As we approach Colossians 3:11-17, the Apostle Paul defines for the believers their role within the body of Christ. As you glance through the chapter, each virtue is in relation to man's relationship to man, specifically believer to believer. Paul says that in order to be a good Christian within the overall body of the church, you must 1. have a heart of compassion, 2. kindness, 3. humbleness, 4. gentleness, 5. patience, 6. forbearance towards each other, and 7. forgiveness towards each other. Paul then goes on to state that above all of that, you must put on love.
Within the list of virtues, you see nothing about a church making you "feel good" or "feel connected". Everything about that list is about YOU as the believer contributing to the body of Christ. Paul goes on to state that we must "allow the peace of God to rule in our hearts", which is being filled with the spirit. How does this happen? "By allowing the Word of Christ to dwell richly in our hearts". To dwell means to take complete residence. When we allow the Holy Spirit to take complete control of our lives, our mindset regarding church will change from "me first" to "Christ first".
So going back to my original statement... "Church isn't about you". Church is about Jesus. Church is about helping others come to know Christ and grow in Christ. When we come to church with a mindset of worshipping God and investing in others, we WILL feel connected. We WILL grow spiritually. And we WILL accomplish God's plan for us within the church.
So my challenge for you today is this... "Don't ask what the church can do for you, ask yourself what YOU can do within the church, through the power of the Holy Spirit." Your church needs the spiritual gifts God has given you. Let's seek what God desires to do through us for the church.