One day a man called a pastor to say he wanted to join the pastor’s church. The man was quick to point out, though, that he didn’t want to attend services every week, study the Bible, pray, visit, evangelize, give, or serve in any way. He told the pastor, “I just want to be able to truthfully say that I’m a member of a church. That will help my reputation in my business, and it will also give me a good comeback when someone invites me to attend their church.”
The pastor replied, “Okay, I understand, but I really don’t believe that our church is the one for you. But there’s a church across town that will suit your needs perfectly. If you’ve got a pen and paper I’ll give you the address and directions.” The man said, “Go ahead, I’m ready.” The pastor then gave him the address and directions and the conversation was ended.
Eagerly the man jumped into his car and carefully followed the pastor’s instructions until he came to the address. There at the site stood an abandoned church building that was boarded up and ready for demolition. As the man sat there in the car, he realized that he was staring at the logical outcome of his attitude toward church.
You get out of church about what you put into it. Everyone seems full of suggestions as to how church could be done better, but when it comes to actually putting in the necessary time, effort, and money to accomplish those things, the silence becomes deafening. Most people are only interested in what they can get out of church rather than in what they can put into it. And if you want to know what that attitude ultimately produces, take a drive over to your local abandoned church building. There you’ll find the result on full display.