My Reflections on Mexico City (Part three) My One Thing

(From the movie "City Slickers")
Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is? [holds up one finger] This.
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don't mean s*&%.
Mitch: But, what is the "one thing?"
Curly: [smiles] That's what you have to find out.

I walked into church and was greeted by someone passing our bulletins. I found a seat with a good few of the stage but not to close since I didn't know anyone there. At 11am the service started promptly. A worship band sang three songs complete with video screens and stage lighting. The announcements were made, offering collected, and the pastor began his 45 minute sermon. After that we passed around little plastic shot glasses with juice, took a broken cracker and shared in communion. We closed with another song from the worship band and everyone hurried out to begin the rest of there day.

Sound familiar? It is pretty much the carbon copy of every other church in our country each and every weekend. The only difference was this wasn't a church in the U.S.. It was the one we attended while in Mexico City.

Different country, different language, different culture, same church. And that's not a good thing.

If God can makes every human that has ever lived unique. If he can design us to never have another one of us ever on this planet again, why can't churches be just as unique and special?

One of the things I've thought a lot about since that church experience in MXC was the lack of uniqueness of the churches I've seen and have experienced in my lifetime. It's like we all believe there is only one way, one style, one method to having a church. Most churches believe there are 5 main purposes to a church: Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry and Evangelism (all of which were promoted and pushed in the best seller, "The purpose driven church" by Rick Warren)

I'm not here to debate as to rather or not those 5 "purposes" are the foundation for every church but I do want to consider the following question, "If they are, then does that mean every church has to go about accomplishing those 5 things the same way?"

At first glance the average Christian and church-goer would say no. Of course churches can go about accomplishing those 5 purposes differently. But if we really believed that, then why does just about every church in America look just like the rest? Churches are being planted every Sunday on the idea that they're in some way different and unique but in reality there are just minor cosmetic differences.

Why can't each church figure out what makes them unique and special? The problem is we (as in the American church) have bought into the lie that every church has to be as good at every single thing the church down the street is good at or we're in someway inferior or a failure. We've created a system where churches compete like super markets and department stores. We do everythinging we can to offer customers the most choices, best value, and at the lowest cost.

All in the name of Jesus.

What if we had churches bold enough to say this is the "one thing" we're good at and it's all we're going to focus on? If someone walked through the doors of that church and wanted something different, you don't adapt the church to meet their needs/wants, you point them to a church that specialized in what they are looking for.

A friend of mine shared this analogy with me as we were discussing this very topic: You know why people like Golden Corral? Because it has something for their whole family. Now no one will ever claim GC has the best steak, chicken, mashed potatoes, pizza, or dessert. It all has pretty much the same bland taste. But everyone will agree that you can find something to eat at any GC. Now there's a hole restaurant joint in Winston-Salem that serves really good hot dogs. In fact it's been voted the 4th best hot dog in the U.S.. They realize that they can't offer everything to everybody, but what they can offer is a really good hot dog. So they do. They specialize in "one thing". The one thing that makes them unique.

What if churches were more like that hot dog joint? You want a great children's ministry, try this church. You want a church focused on foreign missions, try over there. You want a church who's goal is reaching the lost then go here.

I know it sounds like heresy to say every church shouldn't have a great children's ministry, missions, or outreach program but it you have a bunch of stuff to offer and all of it is pretty bland then what's the point?

Give me a church that knows what it's designed for. Give me a church that understands what makes it unique. Give me a church that is strong enough to know it may not do a lot well but the "one thing" it does it does with excellence.

Why not figure out that, "one thing and stick with that, the rest don't mean s*&%."

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