Thursday, December 15, 2011

Doing Excellence, Pleasing God, and Winning those Far From God

Firstly, I want to remind everyone about Oceanside's Christmas Offering this Sunday December 25, 2011. It is a great opportunity for you to give and support the work of God all over the world. You can check out this week's EMAIL about where your money goes when you give to the Christmas offering, and if you'd like a detailed explanation of it click HERE. And if you can't join us on Sunday morning you can give online at this LINK. Thank you and Merry Christmas, I will now get into this week's regular blogpost.

I want to start off this post by saying I'm not a Steven Furtick hater at all. I love the guy as a brother in Christ and a fellow pastor. We're both South Carolina Low Country boys, and I loved every chapter of his book Sun Stand Still. But just because I really like him doesn't mean I have to agree with everything he says.

This week he wrote a post on excellence in the church. Read the entire post here. As an example he said that our competition for Christmas decor isn't other churches but the shopping mall. I completely agree with the former but not so much with the latter. His rationale is that people far from God don't know what other churches have up for Christmas decorations, but they do know how the mall is decorated. He goes on to say that if we're going to win them to Christ we have to have better decorations than the mall.

Who am I to argue? The dude has thousands on a weekend and me, well, on a good one 70. But something about his statements fundamentally ring false.

1. People far from God are looking for truth not great Christmas decorations. Otherwise why would they even be entering the doors of a church? A friend invited them? Probably, but in my experience they don't say yes until they're ready for a little truth.

2. Few churches have the money to compete with the malls. Are we all useless? Our church struggles many weeks just to meet the basic needs of our ministries.

3. People far from God aren't going to stay because of the decorations, but they will stay because of the relationships. Two relationships are extremely important: 1) the one they have with Christ and 2) the ones they have with other people.

Lastly, musically no church will ever be able to compete with the stage show of Maroon 5 or The Killers. Church videography will never come close to the quality of CBS, and no small group experience will ever equal the directorial genius of Chris Nolan.

My philosophy is it's "Good enough." Whatever we do we should strive to make it good enough for God. If you've finished a project, look at it, and with your God given resources ask: is that good enough for the God of the universe? I don't care if it's good enough for people far from God. Their expectations are mortal and fleeting. Do your absolute best and then do it a little better. Our competition isn't the shopping mall. We compete for God's pleasure.