Doing Life Together

ID-10054899I was a bit taken aback when church members were fighting over the type of bread to be used during communion. Apparently the staff was accused of being gluten insensitive to those with allergies and two forms of communion bread should be offered. Gluten insensitive? In polling those in charge, the accusations hurt. No one was trying to be insensitive. In fact, no one ever thought of gluten-free bread.

As someone who has been in the church all my life, I have noticed the number of complaints and offenses rising. And I have to wonder if we are looking for ways to be offended. Consider these complaints:

  • We sing too many songs over and over again.
  • I don’t like the way the church is decorated.
  • Why are the worship singers wearing those outfits?
  • Could we please change the coffee. It is terrible.
  • People on the platform should be clean shaven.
  • If the music doesn’t get turned down, I’m leaving.
  • Why should there be parking spaces for pregnant moms?

Look at the list. These are preferences, opinions and differences that people hold, not essentials of the faith. How does constant complaint and offense taking represent Christ and forward our ability to work together, build community and help each other? Maybe these complaints are part of the reasons people don’t want to go to church. It feels a little like social media–complaints and negativity, without having to face people directly and work on conflict.

We are not church consumers. It is not about our wants and desires, preferences and opinions. We are there to experience Christ corporately and be discipled. So maybe we should rethink our offense. Are we really going to be offended by the term “PotLuck” because it denotes luck? Sounds like the culture is creeping into the church.

Look, I am all for participating in my church, giving helpful suggestions and offering new ways to do things, but I need to guard against fighting or taking offense when the pastoral staff doesn’t take my suggestions or decides a different direction. Fighting and carrying offense block our spiritual lives and create division.

Jesus’ prayer was that we would operate in unity. Perhaps we can move away from our consumer mentality for a few hours on a Sunday, practice conflict resolution and rethink what is important in the church.


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