In the past 24 months I’ve switched my home cable provider three times.
A grocery store opened closer to our house last year, so we’ve switched to that store.
I discovered that a different credit card would help me accumulate travel points quicker, so I switched to that card a few months ago.
All of us are so accustomed to moving our business from one place to another that perhaps it’s inevitable that we sometimes bring the same thinking to our local church.
As a church elder, people will seek me out from time to time to have one of those “I’m thinking of leaving our church” conversations. I had one this week.
My response is always the same. I ask, “Are you angry at the community or the company?”
The baffled look on their face prompts me to explain. “Look, the church is really the community; you know, it’s you and me. It’s all of us. It’s all the ‘one another’ stuff in the New Testament.
“The company is different. That’s my term for the staff, the budget, the facility, the utility bills, the governance structure; all the stuff the community puts in place to help us along the way.”
Then I add, “It sounds to me like you’re really mad at the company, not the community.”
You see, almost always when someone is mad at “the church”, they’re really mad at the company; that organized part that makes decisions, distributes resources, and so on.
Once people see that distinction I ask, “So, if it’s the company you’re mad at, why would you want to respond by punishing the community?”
Then I take them right back to 1 Corinthians 12 and hit them with verse 18: “God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.”
Let’s face it. Life in the local church can be a bumpy ride, and along the way you may indeed find yourself pretty upset at decisions, directions and policies.
However you choose to respond, remember that when you’re mad at the company, don’t take it out on the community.
Because “God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.”
What do you do when you’re mad at “the church”? What is an appropriate way to respond when we’re angry at church decisions?