How To Be a Bad Church Member

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Ever wanted to set your church back and create an unhealthy culture? Here is a short list of things to do to:

1. Constantly point out what should be done, but never volunteer to actually do anything. (People with workable solutions and the desire to roll up their sleeves and get the job done are invaluable to a church)

2. Always be late for church services (Guests have determined whether or not they will come back within the first 7 minutes of visiting your church. When you arrive 15 minutes late they have already determined that you don’t care about your church so why should they)

3. Expect the best preaching, music, programs, and facilities, but don’t give or give very little and expect someone else to pay for it. (Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Its amazing how when you invest into your local church you become much more supportive and much less critical.)

4. Attend as inconsistently as possible. Try not to make more than 1 or 2 services a month. (The bible clearly commands church attendance in Hebrews 10:25. Its amazing that the reasons given are never about what we will receive if we go to church, but rather about what we can give when we go. You may not need to be there, but someone else needs you to be there. Go to church. Worship, support, encourage, uplift, welcome guests. You are needed every Sunday!)

5. Never invite your friends, family, and coworkers to church. They should have no idea where you go and what you do each and every Sunday. (Coworkers, neighbors, friends, and family members are all strategically placed into your life by God. Invest into your church and into their lives by inviting them to church.)

6. Talk about the people you attend church with instead of praying for them. (Attending church should mean we have a community of support to ensure spiritual growth and not a place to be criticized and judged harshly. We could all stay in the world and get that.)

7. Be as flaky as possible. When you do show up be sure to second guess what and how things are being done. Spend a lot of time at coffee shops discussing what’s wrong with the church and church leaders, but never be faithful enough to actually carry the heavy load of leading a ministry yourself. (It takes a lot of faithfulness to rise to leadership in a church. The people who show up the most usually end up carrying the biggest burden. When people who are uncommitted to sacrificially giving of their time show up sporadically to second guess what’s going on it discourages the leaders of your church. If someone else is doing it and you are not personally involved in it, try encouraging them instead of second guessing them.)

8. Play quiet as a mouse, still as a rock during church services. (When we worship it touches heaven. When we don’t it not only hinders what God is trying to do in our services, it also makes it difficult on the service leaders. Never underestimate the power of your involvement in worship and your support of the message. I believe not only will you be blessed, but you are also helping to create the atmosphere for people to be saved, healed, and restored in the Presence of God.)

9. Bring your kids into the service instead of the Children’s Ministry that volunteers have worked hard to prepare for. Because its your child the other people attending will really enjoy the noise and distraction. (Each week volunteers work hard and pray hard to be effective in ministering to children. I personally witness the frustration of our volunteers when parents opt to take their child into the service instead of supporting the ministry provided. Nothing in the service is geared towards your child’s age and they most likely will end up being bored and a distraction. Support your church’s Children’s Ministry by checking your child in each week. Also, the guests sitting nearby you will appreciate it as well.)

10. Never pray for your Pastor and the Leaders of your church. (Most people will never see the effort, passion, and even tears that are sown into a church by its leaders. Pray for your Pastor and other leaders of your church.)

Your Best Plus 1

Your best plus 1. That’s the definition of excellence given to me by a friend and former mentor. Dr. Ken Brassfield has since gone on to be with the Lord, but his definition of excellence has stuck with me for over 10 years. We all understand that perfection is a myth and no one, and nothing will ever be “perfect.” However, we do want to strive for excellence in all that we do. That leaves us with the question, how do you define excellence? The simple definition of excellence given to me was to do your very best, and then add 1 thing. In other words strive to do your very best, and then figure out ways to grow, increase, or improve upon your best. A culture of excellence is created when we do the diligent work of offering our best. However, without a desire to grow, improve, stretch, learn, and become better we cap our potential and lose our excellence. When I sat down to craft the values of CoastLife Church the first item on the values list was excellence. After having been raised in a Pastor’s home and having been in the ministry for over a decade I am well acquainted with Churches that operate with a lack of excellence. They are easily identified by things like not be able to start a service on time, or even worse, not being able to end a service in a timely manner. I have been to a few services that I wondered if the people in charge were aware that there would indeed be a service going on that day. Did Sunday sneak up on them? I was once invited to speak at a service that was to have a potluck dinner afterwards. At the end of a very disorganized service the announcement was made that the potluck had been canceled. Evidently every single person that brought food to the potluck brought the same item, bread. That type of a lack of excellence is easy to spot. However, working from the definition of best plus 1 exposes a more subtle lack of excellence. It’s when we have a norm of offering at or near our best, but haven’t grown, increased, or attempted to go over the top in a long time. I would say most churches that I know of right now wouldn’t have a potluck dinner with just bread. However, I wonder how many could claim a culture of excellence if we applied the best plus 1 filter. Excellence isn’t just a good idea, its actually connected to your love of people, ministry, and even God. Paul ended chapter 12 of his first epistle to Corinth by saying, “I show you a more excellent way.” The next chapter to follow is what we term the love chapter. If you love people, if you love ministry, if you love God you will have a desire to operate with excellence. Here are a few questions to ask to help apply the best plus 1 filter:

1. Who is really looking at your operations?

Not everyone needs to be a critic, but a small group of people do need to be tasked with the job of critiquing the critical aspects of your church.

2. What type of self observation do you utilize to bring about improvement?

In a coaching network I came across these 4 questions I ask after every Sunday: 1. What went right 2. What went wrong 3. What was confusing/awkward 4. What was missing

3. What areas of your church/ministry have been good so long, they are no longer excellent? What areas of your church/ministry are good, but could use some fresh growth?