A little boy stood at the edge of the Grand Canyon with a frown on his face. When his parents asked why he looked disappointed he replied, I though you said this was going to be a giant cannon. Even great things can be a disappointment depending on expectations.
We don’t want anyone disappointed with Fellowship Church. People arrive at church with all types of expectations. These expectations are generally based upon a combination of their past experiences and their current needs. Sometimes people come to a church with a valid personal need and get frustrated or even angry when those needs are not met.
While churches need to keep evaluating whether they are functioning as the Lord instructed, they also need to know what they are not designed to do. Just as you don’t get upset with your insurance agent because he doesn’t offer snowplowing service, everyone should know what a church should and should not provide.
A church provides Christians an opportunity to glorify God in a greater way together than they could glorify Him by themselves.
You should expect the church body to help equip you for the work of the ministry and to provide opportunities for service. You will be disappointed, however, if you are expecting the church to just serve you.
You should expect a church and pastor to provide spiritual food to feed the flock of God. You will be disappointed, however, if that is your only source of nourishment. The Christian must feed himself daily from the Word of God or spiritual growth will be retarded. No one goes to a restaurant on Sunday, eats a big meal and then becomes disappointed that they are not still full on Tuesday. It is unrealistic to go on a spiritual fast all week and then expect a Sunday binge to hit the spot.
You should expect a church to help train up children and young people in the faith. You will be disappointed, however, if the home is not the primary place of spiritual training and discipline. Children’s programs and a youth group can only supplement what is taught at home; it will never be a substitute.
You should expect to make friends at church. You will be disappointed, however, if you expect the church to primarily meet your social needs. The best friends are made when people with no demands on one another work and minister side by side for the glory of God.
Many people shop for and choose churches like consumers looking for the best dry cleaners. The church is not a business. Though it should be run with as much efficiency and integrity as any business, it is not a service industry that provides a product to a bunch of consumers. In one sense, the church is more like the bank in It’s a Wonderful Life. The only resources available are the ones that others put in.
But the church is much more than a bank. The members don’t keep track of their individual accounts and expect returns. They come to give of themselves. When they do they feel blessed, other’s needs are met, and no one does without. Much like a volunteer organization, people are there to give of themselves in order to make the best use of their lives and resources.
But, the church is also much more than a club. It is not just a group of people united for a common cause. Like a team, they have linked up with one another because they each have been endowed with different gifts and skills and together they form a whole. They are incomplete without one another and church gatherings are times to huddle. The huddle is not the game; it is the time to regroup to be ready to get back onto the field.
But the church is even more than just a team. More like a family, we are united because we have the same Father, the same ancestry, and the same future. We are not just huddled together, trying to survive this age and its wickedness. No, we are busy about the Father’s business, serving in His fields. The Lord has promised to return, so until He comes, we faithfully wait as children, obeying the Father’s instructions to help others be part of His family. And we are even more than just children. We are also the brothers and sisters of Christ, bought with His blood, waiting for His return. We, the church, are also the bride of Christ, being prepared to spend forever with Him.
If the Lord has called you and placed you in Fellowship Church, you will not be disappointed. The Lord led you here because He knew we needed you and you needed us. Together, we make up the church and we will stand united, battling the gates of hell until the Lord returns.
But God has combined the members of the body…that its parts should have equal concern for each other…Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. -I Corinthians 12:24-27