It’s Guest Post Fortnight on Known & Renowned! Today’s post was written by Natalie Myers. Natalie is a twenty-something city-dweller who loves reading books and perfecting her cheesecake recipe. She treks the Midwest in her M&M blue car and is always looking forward to the next trip to the library. Find her on Twitter @natalie_elyse.
The music fades out and the lights brighten. A thirty-something dressed like a twenty-something hops on stage and welcomes us with a few announcements.
“We would love to have you fellowship with us on Saturday, during our church BBQ and beer time. I believe Pastor Tyler is even brewing some beer of his own as a special treat for us!”
Looking down at my bulletin, I make a tally mark on the right side: Pastor Tyler just won this church another point in trendiness. Way to go, Pastor Tyler!
Trendy church, trendy area, trendy building, trendy name. This was the coolest church I ever visited. Coming from four years of college—church-hopping, church-testing, and regrettably, church-judging—I am now very familiar at recognizing a solid, biblically-based church. But this awareness also means I can very easily become a church snob.
On the spectrum of church snobbery, here are a few things I need to watch out for, both in judging other churches, or taking undue pride in my own:
- Most diversity in ages, ethnicities, or personalities
- Most interesting name (Grace Bible or Mars Hill?)
- Best alternate names for common church activities (Bible studies or kingdom communities?)
- Best snacks on break (Coffee and donuts or tea and vegan muffins?)
- Most prolific pastor (How many books has YOUR pastor written? How many visitors to his blog each month?)
- Least offensive decorations (Graffiti art crucifixion scene or lilies and candles?)
A lesson for us from all this:
Don’t be a church snob. How will others know us by our love for each other if we treat each other like rival cousins that we only see on holidays, competing to see who is taller each year?
I need to have a better attitude toward the church. Assuming major issues—correct theology and hearts genuinely yearning for Christ—are in place, let’s count it all joy. Instead of criticizing, condemning, or—perhaps the worst—outwardly smiling but inwardly one-upping, I need to take pleasure in the variety of God’s church.
Consider the college students, discussing the Trinity around dinner on a Thursday night. Consider the suburban church—where neighbors watch their friends’ kids get married after watching them grow up. Consider the country church, where vibrant hymns light up Sunday evening services. Consider the urban start-up, growing with new adults on a Saturday community gathering, complete with barbecues and home-brewed beer.
We are all His body, created in Christ to do good works. Let’s not turn on each other and instead, in all things, through Him who is the Head, that is Christ, let us build each other up in love and give Him the glory.
– Natalie Myers
COMMENT: What is your guilty pleasure in church-snobbery? When has that been challenged?
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like One Reason I’ll Stay With the Church For Good and The Sunday Shuffle: Why Hopping is Good, But Squatting is Better.