Top Notch… Not Jesus

There are many buzzwords being tossed around the world of church planting and/or starting a ministry.  One that stands out to me is “top notch”, as in being excellent.  It seems everyone wants to be “top notch”

Well, I do not think Jesus was “top notch”.

As I read and hear others trying to grow and build the Kingdom of God, they swoosh it all together with different models that businesses would use to grow to become a Fortune 100 company.

However, as I peruse through scripture, I cannot find anywhere where I would associate Jesus as “top notch”, where “top notch” is seen as seamless, entertaining, or excellent.

People want to have a “powerful” worship service.  They want to be inspired, they want to be compelled.

The mega-church I went to is a well-oiled machine.  It has a countdown clock on the big screen to show when the worship service will start (and God forbid they start a few seconds off).  They would always hit that timer on the nose.. 3… 2… 1… and BOOM the music jammed and the singing “worship” team would belt out songs and the place would be rockin’.  All the rest of the service would go off without a hitch, and would end at the exact time for everyone to get out, get their kids from the nursery, or go wherever.

So, as a performance goes, if I was a reporter that reviewed plays or concerts, I would write something like “Powerful, Awe Inspiring, Best show this side of the Mississippi”.

People are drawn to this kind of stuff.  And if one church is doing it, some other church needs to step up its game to be “more top notch”.  This strive to be better than the other church down the road is completely unhealthy.  The pressure everyone at these churches are under has got to be excruciating.  They all are striving for the perfect little worship service that will fit all types of people.  But when I really look at it all, Jesus was not about any of these things.

So what is “top notch” in the Christian life?  If a church is always striving to be “top notch”, does that emphasize power and strength or humility and sacrifice?

I think many churches today are built on the craziest bunch of BS, built by people with Master degrees and business savvy that want to get a great performance to draw in the crowds, and not built by the people that matter … the less qualified, the addicts, the depressed (the people in the seats or pews).

Give me a bunch of people getting together with no visual aides, no “top notch” sound system, no stage, no pulpit, no head pastor, but instead are sharing their lives with one another as they seek Christ, sing, laugh, and have communion as a half slab of ribs and a iced cold glass of sweet tea.

Just give me a place where people seek family and relationships, and are not there for the “top notch” show.

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6 thoughts on “Top Notch… Not Jesus

  1. I think you and I agree on what the Body of Christ entails.

    So I have read your past 3 posts, and I have some questions.

    I agree with you in many ways it should not be a competition. And if you are just listening you are consuming.

    Did you leaving the institutional church, as you call it, bring unity or division to The Body?
    Can a person in the institutional chrurch be as effective as a someone not?
    Why not stay and fight?

    You are casting a wide net…from your tone (and understand it is written word) not any in the institutional church fit the mold that lead you to. leave.

    My real question is continued from the first. Do your words hear drive unity or division in The Body?

    I hope you understand why I ask these questions.

  2. ckroboth – By me leaving the institutional church had no effect on the Body of Christ. I do not think the human made systems has anything to do with The Body. The Bride of Christ is completely separate, and for me leaving a building should not effect anything. I am the same person I was when I left (hopefully wiser), just living a life different from the majority of others in the US. My way of thinking is definitely not mainstream.

    Yes, absolutely, I believe a person can be effective that attends an institutional church. It is not the person, it is the system within the institution that drives me nuts. The people I love regardless of their opinions.

    My words here are just my opinion, so it should not divide anyone. I would never say I am right or wrong, or that someone should do it this way or that way… it is to just spur on some good discussion. You will never see any of my writing putting down another brother or sister in Christ, but you will read what I think is a bunch of BS sometimes … again it is just for discussion and to see other ways of looking at things. I would hope others would come on and voice their opinions, I would love to see how others interpret things. We can all learn from one another.

    My question to you is, what are you staying and fighting for?

    By the way, this post was to show that I feel we should be approaching a gathering of believers from a life down in the trenches building relationships with each other. I was hoping to get good answers to the questions I asked. So what is “top notch” in the Christian life? If a church is always striving to be “top notch”, does that emphasize power and strength or humility and sacrifice?

    Thanks for checking things out and commenting.

  3. Fair enough. Just had to check.

    I am fighting for the same things. Cutting through the crap. As a man said to me yesterday. We need to be honest with each other and be willing to get dirty with each other. Doesn’t matter the setting.

    To me “top notch” is people bound by Christ, like Paul writes in Ephesians,no matter the setting. Who cares how a person or group do church. Who cares where they gather. Are they getting dirty with each other and living life together.

    So with the Holy Spirit I move forward recognizing the need to affect others by being internationally in their lives no matter the setting.

    Thanks for answering my questions. I hope I have answered yours.

    Peace bro.

  4. Thanks!

    My opinion is that the setting does matter, that is why I left. The environment I was in was not building any type of meaningful relationships. I just feel the man made systems that is called church does not breed an environment of action.. just knowledge. But that is just me 🙂

  5. “Give me a bunch of people getting together with no visual aides, no “top notch” sound system, no stage, no pulpit, no head pastor, but instead are sharing their lives with one another as they seek Christ, sing, laugh, and have communion as a half slab of ribs and a iced cold glass of sweet tea.

    Just give me a place where people seek family and relationships, and are not there for the “top notch” show.”

    Amen Swanny! I used to be one of those orchestrating the “show.” No more. We walked out in 2003 and have no regrets. Much of what goes on in the institution is providing mere entertainment with very little discipleship and formation of deep relationships. I’m not denying that there were moments of fruitfulness, but my heart yearned for something more than me on a platform performing for the crowd. Looking back, we built buildings, but failed in building community. Bring on the BBQ and sweet tea!

  6. John – When you walked out in 2003, was it difficult?

    You said you have no regrets.. I do not either, it is the best step of faith I have ever done and feel some much closer to others in The Body than I ever have.

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