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Churches Are Not Christian Cruise Ships

The church does not exist to deliver all the programming the congregation can dream up. If we did everything we’ve been asked to do, we’d have dozens of programs from sports leagues to classes in CPR.

Many of these things are good and helpful, but you can’t say yes to them all.

You can’t preach every sermon your congregation thinks you should preach.

Sometimes you need to say no.

Kindly. Respectfully, with a thoughtful explanation. But still no.

Again, many are good and worthy ideas, but the church not only shouldn’t do all of them, but it also can’t. No one church can do everything. That is simply impossible. So what each church does must be carefully, strategically and prayerfully thought through.

Many of the things that your congregation requests already exist somewhere in your community. Encourage them to engage the community, and take Jesus with them!

3 Principles To Help You Navigate These Sensitive Matters:

1. Love Everyone, but Surrender Your Values to No One.

Jesus served everyone the Father directed him to serve. We are to do no less. But the Father never directed Jesus to serve everyone while he was here on earth.

Everyone is welcomed. We are to treat all who we meet with love and grace, but one church can’t meet every need.

Jesus never let anyone derail Him from his purpose.

One of the stories that illustrates this is in John chapter 11. Mary and Martha’s brother, Lazarus, was sick and dying. They pleaded with Jesus to come and heal him, but Jesus stayed where He was for two more days. I’m certain they didn’t understand in the moment. They were no doubt disappointed and probably upset. Jesus loved Lazarus, Mary, and Martha, but he remained on his purpose.

The tension arises from the fact that people are the purpose of the church.