I’m beginning a series of blog interviews with friends (some well-known, some not). My hope is to get a range of people from a range backgrounds, communities, and situations. I’ll ask each of these people one question:
What lie do you see floating around the church that worries you?
These are the thoughts of my friend David Odom, a musician and worship pastor in South Carolina.
“Everyday people lose their jobs, marriages, families, homes, and many times the first response is, “I need to get back in church”. Which I think can be a really selfish way of saying, “How can the church help me?” I think sometimes people use the church like they do Band-Aids.
Sometimes the church is a great asset for people. Many churches have benevolence programs that help people in need and counseling programs to help hurting people. Praise God for those things, but this is where it gets a little twisted to me. Once that person gets what they need they are often on the way out the door. Back to the life they lived two months earlier.
God gives us some incredible truth through his Word about our needs, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8). Notice it says draw near to God not necessarily a church. (Before you get too upset do know I’m not saying that going to church is a bad idea, it’s just the answer to the deep questions are only found in the person of Jesus). I think of Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
When is the last time that happened? Sometimes I wonder if the people asking for help are also putting petitions and thanks before God himself, or if they just want a cure for the moment. Psalm 54:4 says, “Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.”
The Church plays a vital role for believers to learn and grow in faith and have fellowship with other believers, but when the church becomes the quick cure for disobedience and brokenness, the church has done a disservice to the hurting person by not demanding them to look to Christ. That is a tragedy. The Church may be able to help you in some measure, but it cannot save you or heal you or fulfill you, only Christ can!