Generally, I love the comedy of Jeff Foxworthy. This time I am both laughing and crying. I was a preacher for a long time and I know the pressures of the profession. When the congregation is not growing/happy/interested/involved/etc., the preacher is the first one blamed and, very often, sent packing. Maybe a new preacher will be more dynamic/younger/pretty/gregarious/educated/entertaining/etc. Sorry, Jeff, that’s not really his job.
Most of this pressure is because we have become assembly-oriented. “Going to church” is the expected and almost exclusive activity of the majority. Because of this, it had better be well-orchestrated (maybe even have an orchestra). If “going to church” is not interesting/exciting/ entertaining, then attendees will drift to a more appealing (I almost wrote, “appalling”) venue. Consequently, all kinds of shenanigans are pulled to draw the crowds away from one congregation to another.
It never seems to cross our minds that our purpose is not to have the biggest congregation, but simply to follow Christ with the strength and wisdom that God provides. It doesn’t seem to occur to us that assemblies are for edification and encouragement. If we restore assemblies to their scriptural purpose, we won’t need smoke bombs, rock bands and a new preacher to keep folks coming back.
The light that we are commissioned to bring to all the world has nothing to do with electricity. It has everything to do with letting the light of Jesus shine through our words, actions and attitudes, bringing glory to God.
Nowhere in the instructions of Jesus and the apostles is there even a hint of having preacher as a position, much less heaping upon him primary responsibility for the state of the congregation and the quality of the “worship service” (a term not found in Scripture).
With church affiliation declining across the denominational spectrum, it is high time to take a fresh look at Scripture. Are we truly following Christ into the world or leaving him in the uncomfortable streets while we attend another comfortable “worship service” in our well-appointed “church buildings?”
May God forgive me (us) for participating so long in something so foreign to Scripture and deviant to our purpose.