The church needs to take care of this. The church needs to work on that. The church needs to...the church needs to...the church needs to...
I've found that when people say "The church needs to do something," they mean, "You need to do something, Pastor."
Did you know there is no magical organization out there called "The Church"? If the church needs to do something, it means you need to do something. It doesn't necessarily require a program to call on shut-in's or evangelize your neighborhood. If the church needs to do something, it means you need to do something; I need to do something; or we need to do something! You are "The Church".
We have separated ourselves from the persona of "The Church" as we have dropped denominational loyalties and consistency in attendance at our home churches. We start talking about the church as an "it" or a "them" rather than an "us" or "we", and suddenly, it is not a personal issue, it is a church issue for "The Church" to worry about.
This causes our conversations to turn toward complaining about "the Church". Why "they" aren't doing this or that; or how "The leadership" does something wrong; or that "No one from the church called me when I was absent," even though your best friends called, they attend your church (therefore they are the church), but that apparently doesn't count. That's when you know that "The Church" means "The Pastor," or "The Pastoral Staff".
Here is my plea to the people of "The Church": When someone says "The Church isn't doing this or that," take it personally! If you agree, then say, "You're right, I haven't been following up on people who miss services," or "You're right, we should be bringing food to that person who is unable to prepare their own meals right now."
You are the church! When someone says the church isn't doing what it should, they are saying you aren't doing what you should! Take it personally. Don't join in on the complaining, because it doesn't make any sense.
Think of it this way: Would you even consider complaining to your neighbor that you aren't keeping your house up well enough? Imagine the conversation:
You: "My house looks awful! I don't mow my lawn, the landscaping is all overgrown and run down, and the windows are all broken out. Somebody needs to do something about this!"
Your Neighbor: "I know! And I have three trashy cars parked in my yard up on blocks. Somebody should either fix them or get rid of them!"
That is exactly what you are doing when you and someone from your church complain about what "The Church" isn't getting done. It's always going to be a problem until "The Church" steps up and does something about it, and guess what?...YOU ARE THE CHURCH!
By the way, when I say "Take it personally," I don't mean, "Be offended." I mean:
* listen to what is being said
* consider the validity of their point
* ask them what they are doing to meet that need
* ask yourself what you are doing to meet this need
* If the need is bigger than you, go to the church leadership with ideas
* Be ready to help with the need you are raising
Philippians 2:14 says to do everything without complaining or arguing. It is time to stop complaining about "The Church", and start being "The Church".
Am I wrong?