I Want to Leave My Church

I can’t remember the last time I simply sat and took in a church service, with no responsibility for any aspect of the service. Full disclosure: I work full-time as a minister, so of course I never just sit and take in a church service. But this did get me to thinking: should any of us ever simply walk in, take a seat, sing some songs, take communion, listen to a message, and then leave? Even if church wasn’t my “job,” should I ever take that kind of approach?
The most obvious problem is that every member is called to serve as a minister of Christ. Every person in the church—young and old alike—is essential to the proper functioning of the body of Christ. As we read in 1 Peter 4:10, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
Another problem with the “sit and watch” approach is that church becomes focused on my preferences and desires. If church is just the way I want it, how can I possibly meet the needs of others? And give? And sacrifice? How can I be a servant if I just want to be served?
If I demand that we sing certain songs (the ones I like best), what happens when we sing something else? I might feel like the church doesn’t care about me. What happens when we try to reach younger people because they are the future of the church and we need to develop new leaders? I might feel like the church finds me to be unnecessary. But remember that every person, young and old, and everywhere in between, is essential to the body. Instead of feeling left out, we can (and should) join in the mission of reaching people. Instead of complaining about music, we can (and should) celebrate the fact that other people are aided in their worship of God.
I want to leave my church. I don’t mean that I want to leave Sunrise; I mean I want to leave my church, you know, the one that has to be just the way I like it. Because I can’t serve if I just want to be served. And I can’t understand my real importance if it’s all about my personal preferences and desires. True joy means giving up my rights and serving everyone else. That’s not my church, but it’s the one I want to serve.
Troy Burns