Each fortnight I meet with James and Jared to discuss the progress with the Common. This week James reflected on a talk he had heard by one of the senior pastors from Mount Pleasant Baptist Church. He had said that as he reflected on years in church he had observed the following:
We see the need for parents to have somewhere for their babies and little ones to cry and cope inside the church environment. So we begin church by making it all about them.
We then design a creche for parents and toddlers to be happy and have something constructive to do. So once again we make it all about them.
We then design age-appropriate Sunday School programmes so kids can have fun and be kept happy which is, inevitably, all about them.
Junior and senior youth come along and we want our kids to go and enjoy it. We want their friends to come along too so we have to adjust it to keep everyone interested and happy and, you’re on to it, it’s all about them.
Then it comes time to attend big church and people come in and sit down and it doesn’t take very long for them to notice that it’s not all about them! Before long they devise well-constructed arguments as to why it’s not for them, but they still believe in God so they go to the new church down the road.
The new church down the road is experiencing exponential growth around a dynamic new model for ministry. You’re on to it, the new model is that we make it all about you.
I am so good at making it about me. So good in fact that I don’t even know I’m doing it. One fundamental thing I know about Jesus is that it was not all about him. He taught it: the greatest will be the least amongst you. He incarnated it: he who was God didn’t count equality with God as a thing to be grasped but instead emptied himself. And, finally, he lived it: as the previous quote continues – he emptied himself to death, even death on a cross!
Here is the thing: It’s not about you! Or me! Or our precious little ones who, we discover, are so readily receptive to the ‘It’s all about me’ mantra. And we discover they don’t appreciate it, they just demand more and more.
Are you like me in believing it really has to stop. Are you willing to countenance that it has to start with you? And next time you’re feeling a bit put out, are you willing to ask, “Who is this about, really?”