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Eating Cheeseburgers With A Coat On

So Who Are We Serving?

Some years back I walked into a fast-food restaurant that was freezing. People were eating with their coats on. I was waiting on my food and said to the woman at the cash register, “Hey, it’s pretty chilly in here.”

She smiled and said, “Yeah, that’s how we like it back here. It gets warm in the kitchen.”

I replied, “Yeah, but your customers sitting out here are eating with their coats on.”

She looked around me at the dining area and then looked back at me like I was from another planet and said, “I know. But this is how we like it back here.”

Being the astute observer of humankind that I am, I knew this wasn’t going anywhere. I ate my cheeseburger with my coat on.

That’s a picture of many of our churches. We like it a certain way back here and the people who can’t relate to the language, style, customs, and music are sitting in our churches with their emotional coats on freezing to death, we frankly don’t care about them. We like it like this. We’re comfortable, and this is how we’ve always done it. Decades ago we would have used this argument regarding traditional versus contemporary, hymns versus choruses, drums versus pipe organs. But I would rather turn this argument into a philosophical case for inwardness versus outwardness…and what I just described is the total opposite of an outward-focus.

If we see others sitting with their coats on and can only say, “That’s the way we like it back here,” eventually there won’t be anyone left in the church except for a few people who think that it’s normal to be miserable there. And eventually they’ll get to the place where they think that since they’re miserable, everyone else should be too.

It was Jesus Himself who said in Mark 10:45, “The Son of man didn’t come to be served, but to serve…and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

I wonder what would happen if we really saw the Church’s primary duty as serving people who don’t yet know God.

Dave Workman | Elemental Churches


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