If we surveyed everyone about what they most want from the Church, I’m sure we’d have more than three responses. If we get below the surface, we’d undoubtedly find some common threads. Here are three things to consider that have some biblical merit. Ask yourself if people would find these qualities in your church. Pray about how you can become more of this kind of Church.
What do people want from the Church?
1) People want the Church to be an accepting community of caring and compassionate people.
Can we disagree yet still value people? Can people be different from us and still feel like they belong? Do we speak the truth in love? Churches perceived as primarily confrontational, even hostile, tend to be known more for what they’re against than what they are for. If we aren’t careful, the truth we stand for, the message we proclaim, can get lost in our approach.
Let’s remember that being grace-filled churches doesn’t mean compromising truth or godly living.
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. (Titus 2:11-14)
2) People want the Church comprised of, and helping others to be, authentic disciples who love Jesus and want to share His love with others.
Are people turned off by Jesus or by the way the Church represents Jesus? Is it really that people don’t want to grow spiritually or that they’re not into our programs and methods? Are people getting the impression that it’s all about Jesus or that it’s about allegiance to an institution? Churches perceived as being more concerned about external conformity or mere head knowledge versus internal transformation and a love relationship with Jesus, tend to be known as legalistic and out of touch with people’s real needs.
Let’s remember that Jesus identified love for God and others as the greatest commandments, providing the framework for the Church’s primary purpose.
Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matt. 22:37-40)
3) People want the Church to be accountable stewards who are willing to be transparent about how they use their resources.
Do people really care more about the size of our budget, staff, technology, and building or about how we use what resources we have for the greatest good? Are we more concerned with impacting people or impressing them? Does the way we approach these matters showcase our great and holy God or produce more skepticism and distrust in people? Churches perceived as poor or unworthy stewards of physical resources tend to lose credibility in spiritual matters as well.
Let’s remember that the big picture matters to God and can affect our testimony.
… do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. (Rom. 14:16)
For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man. (2 Cor. 8:21)