I am had a conference at Willow Creek Church in Chicago this week. Tonight I walked into the worship center/sanctuary and I was speechless. When I walked into the church I seriously felt like I was walking into a mall—it was that big! There were even escalators!! (Have we really become so lazy we can’t even walk up one level of stairs at church on Sunday?)
I found myself judging them. PRIDE roared its ugly head once again. I said “once again” because this is something I have really struggled through this year- relevance in the church. Is the church supposed to be relevant? If so, how far does it go? When do you cross the line of not looking different from the world? Is it wrong if appearances look like the worlds?
Our church started a capital campaign this past year and I wanted to run away from it (my church) as fast as I can. This was a problem for several reasons: I love my church, I love my pay check (well… I love my job) and I felt so heavy with judgment.
I got so angry. Why did we need nicer seats, sounds, screens, paint, etc? Why would we spend millions of dollars when there are people on the other side of the world that don’t know about Christ and we could spend the money there?
Tonight as I was sitting in the back at Willow Creek the same thoughts started going through my head. But I really felt a peace about all of it for some reason. I felt like the Lord was telling me something:
Why can’t we worship God with the same excellence as we do everything else in our lives? Doesn’t He deserve that?
Yes if we were in Africa what we are doing would be ridiculous. But our church is set on the corner of I-10 and 610 (the most happening area of town right now). If we’ve ever had an opportunity to reach people it is now. I know what you are going to say, “Shouldn’t people be happy worshipping God with less glitz and glamour?” The answer is clearly yes. But, if we are willing to spend thousands on our houses and cars and everything else, why can’t the place we worship be even better?
The pastor was talking about Solomon tonight. He talked about his downfall. Yes he built the temple. But next he built his palace and he took twice as long to do it. He put less into the temple of God than his own palace.
It wasn’t the sound or lights or seats that drew me to Houston’s First Baptist Church. It was the people… and completely God’s leading.
Tonight was the first time that I didn’t just support my church because I trust the leadership but I think I got their vision: why shouldn’t we do our best for God?
**I understand this is a touchy subject for most—it still is for me. I still have sort through my feelings and keep them in check all the time. I know a lot of you have questions about our churches capital campaign too but don’t have the same opportunities to ask questions that I have. If you have any issues with things, please let me know and if I don’t have an answer for you, I will ask!