A long time ago, a brother in Christ and myself prayed about starting a Christian meeting on the west side of Jacksonville. (and No, this is not “Westside Story”). So after sharing our heart with the Elders at the meeting we were in, we started meeting on Sunday nights in a rented hall. Not too long after, we started meeting on Sunday mornings, and conducting church meetings at that rented hall. We had somewhat of a nice crowd to start with, some were from our other meeting that lived on the west side, and some new believers, and others were somewhat regular visitors.
I took on a lot of responsibilities, It was a drinking hall, so each Sunday morning, I opened the building to air out the smoke, cleaned all the bottles and trash, set up all the chairs after sweeping. Then I scooted across town to pick up a lady that loved the believers there, and wanted to be in fellowship with us. I led the singing, and sometimes preached, and I led the bible study at times.
There were some Sundays that the brother I worked with in starting this meeting was out of town preaching. Those days, I was “Chief Cook and Bottle Washer” I know that’s a weird term, but frankly, I did everything, led the singing, taught the bible study, and preached. Then I cleaned up the place before I went out for lunch.
I remember one of those days, I was leading the singing, and giving announcements, that I made a statement, I said “I think the men of this meeting need to measure their commitment to the Lord, and this work for him, to step up, and share the burden of service, to share in the speaking, and singing, in the plan of God, I shouldn’t be a “”One Man Show”””. Basically, I challenged them to “Man Up” for the Lord. Well, I remember well that day, because after the meeting, I was taken aside by a fellow believer, and was frankly told “Mike, the Lord’s work is not a show”. Well, as you might guess, I knew that already, and it was not at all what I meant, but like water on a ducks back, I let it roll.
After many years of walking (stumbling mostly) with the Lord, and serving him in different meetings of God’s people, I have come to realize one thing. Church is just one big show most of the time. I mean it, we have the song leader, and if he is out, we scramble to find a replacement song leader because that is what the people in the pews are expecting to see isn’t it? Then it’s preaching time. What if the preacher is out, we scramble to get someone to preach, because, that’s right, you guessed it, it is what the people in the pews have come to expect. The show MUST go on. And although most churches are not like my earlier experience, and one person seems to do everything, it is very much that. There are a handful of people that do everything, and the “people in the pews” pay their dues, and expect to be entertained. Let the substitute preacher be a little boring, and the pew peeps will wag their tongues like nobody’s business. They all have an opinion, just how does Brother so-in-so measure up to Brother what’s his name? The worship leader didn’t move me this morning, or, wow, I really felt the spirit in the song service today! It’s all about being entertained.
Reading in the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, he dictates letters to the church in chapters two and three, seven letters, and the fifth one he address the church this way: “I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.” We have fancy churches, fancy programs, and fancy clothing for all the Pew peeps, but there is “Death” in the lives of the very people that should make up the church, You and me. What would happen if the preacher and the song leader didn’t show up one Sunday? I begged a fellow believer who shared the preaching, and I the singing with, to do that very thing, to not show up one Sunday. Imagine, who would “Man Up” God’s church is made up of believers, working together to encourage each other, to teach each other, to love each other, to cry with each other, and to rejoice with each other. God has given every one of us an amazing gift, a supernatural gift, so that we would be equipped to do all these things, yet here we sit in the pews, letting someone else do it all. I cringe when I hear someone say “I really felt the Spirit in the meeting today” knowing all they did was sit there and be entertained.
Do you really want to experience the power of the Spirit of God in the meeting you attend? Do you ever wonder what it would be like to see and feel the power that can shake the walls as we pray? Then ask God right now, “What is MY gift”? “How do you want to use me in this church”? Then listen to him, and he will show you. As you commit to his service, you too will began to feel the real power of his Spirit.
Sunday’s coming, will the show go on? Or, will we change the script, and let God use us to change the world?