Something sensational, extreme, or bizarre happens and it takes no time at all for it to be plastered on TV. It boosts ratings and people pay attention. In today’s terms it is just like when something on the internet goes viral. Everyone wants to see it or be a part of it. Things like the “cinnamon challenge”, the “ice bucket challenge”, or maybe “Lady Gaga Carpool Karaoke”. Don’t ask… The bottom line is that people want to be a part of what is “trending”. People want to be relevant. And for better or worse, the church isn’t so different.
So if those kinds of things “make for good TV”, what “makes for good church”?
Is it singing the latest song from the winner of the Dove Awards? Is it having a pastor that dresses in jeans and a t-shirt? Is it having a great light show? Is it having the most elaborate Living Christmas Tree program? Are these the things that “make for good church”?
Don’t get me wrong, these things in and of themselves are not bad and in fact can be wonderful additions to our times in worship, outreach, and fellowship. However, if you were to take the things that we in the western evangelical world consider to be “relevant” and perhaps deemed “necessary” for the making of “Good Church” and dropped them in the middle of South Sudan or central India, it would likely do more harm to the sharing of the Gospel message rather than further the mission and ministry of Christ.
The things that “Make For Good Church” are the things that bring glory and honor to the Lord; things that are truly worshipful and that fulfill the great commission. The other stuff is interesting and perhaps adds something to the “experience” but good church is found in the true worship of God in all that we do and say. John 4:23 reads “…a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” In Romans 12:1-2 Paul writes “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.“
The things that make for “good church” are not the things that are patterned after the things of this world, but rather it is people whose hearts, souls, and minds are yielded to God, abiding in Christ, and being renewed by God’s Word to the mind of Christ daily. It is people praying together, for each other and for the ministries of the church. It is humble servants reaching out and impacting the world for Christ. It is helping the orphans and widows.
The things that make for good church are people, who in light of the love, mercy and grace shown to them, are offering themselves as living sacrifices to God each and every day.
In the eyes of God that is what makes for good church – regardless of what country, time, or culture they may exist.