Tough question: When people come to your church, what do they leave talking about? Do they leave talking about the oratory skills of the pastor? Do they leave talking about the the beautiful facilities of the church? Do they leave talking about the fellowship, the programs, or even the little perks that just make your church special?
From the surface I would say that if I could have a new person come to my church thinking about any of those things, I would have succeeded in creating an inviting environment to come to. Here’s the question — what does that make the church about? Isn’t this the environment we live in where most of our growth comes from other churches’ members who are seeking which church offers the greatest benefit to them? Doesn’t this line of thinking lead to the worship of pastors, worship of buildings, worship of programs, and the worship of religion?
The lasting thoughts of the church attendee should not be the pastor, the building or even the service… the lasting thoughts should be of God. The goal of churches should be to leave the membership ready to think and speak about God.
A successful Sunday at any church should leave all that attend, both visitors and members, thinking about God and not about themselves. If people listen to a sermon I preach and focus on my ability to preach and not on the God of whom I preach then I have failed. If my building leads people to marvel at its beauty to the distraction of the beauty of God then the building has become an idol. If my worship leader becomes the center of worship then he has failed. Everything in church should be about God.
In the last verse of Chapter One in Corinthians Paul states “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” What do we boast about… our buildings, our fellowship, our leaders, our love… As churches and as people we are called to boast in one thing alone- God. Who do you worship at church?