Jesus Is Not “Top Notch”

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 many 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.  They want a kick-ass show.

The mega-church I went to was a well-oiled machine (and a kick-ass show).  It even had 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 KABOOM! the music would start jamming from the state-of-the-art sound system, and the “top-notch” “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.  They had to end on time, that is the way the spirit works, right?

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”.  In other words, it was a kick-ass show.

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” then the other “churches”.  This striving 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 a lot of business and marketing savvy.  They want to get a great performance to draw in the crowds.  It is by no means built by a bunch of people who 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 aids, 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 an iced cold glass of sweet tea.

Just give me a place where people seek Christ as a relationship with each other (to actually build a community with Him as the head), not a bunch of churchgoers who are there for the “top notch” show, and to make themselves feel good.

13 thoughts on “Jesus Is Not “Top Notch”

  1. Dude, you’ve probably heard this before from other people, but I think you’d really enjoy EOBC, my church. 🙂 It’s exactly what you describe there (though we do have a couple of pastors.)

    I’ll be honest; I agree with you here. If I feel like the church is more about the show and less about the actual community, then that’s pretty off-putting. It’s one of the reasons I became disillusioned with CCM (Contemporary Christian Music). After hearing how bad some of the “Christian” artists were back stage….and that a lot of people do CCM just as a stepping stone to a bigger and more lucrative secular career….I just couldn’t take it any more. x_x;;;

    So, yeah, I understand your feeling. (Hey, we actually AGREE for once! XD)

    1. Liz – If I lived closer to you I would love to visit you and your church family. If you are finding community in Christ where you are.. that is awesome!

      Yeah, I am not a big fan of all the hoopla that is put on to entertain the masses.

      1. The institutional church system is not merely paved with good intentions; it is walled and roofed with them. Yes, and completely furnished too.

  2. Amen to this whole post! I am not in the least attracted to a “show” in church, and frankly some of the people “pastoring” these mega churches give me the creeps. Give me a reformed addict, saved by grace, called by Jesus, non-theologically trained pastor any day…Those are the people that truly understand how to help other people who’ve blown it.

  3. Your mega church experience reminds me of ours….sadly, after the wow factor wears off you realize they are more vested in “the business of doing church” rather than being the Church. That’s the impression we got from the head pastor because during a sermon on tithing he addressed the congregation and said they expect people who attend and benefit from their services to tithe and that they prefer those who don’t tithe to not attend. That didn’t seem very Christ-like to us so we chose not to visit again. They lost more than our tithe that day…

    1. Sofia – It is sad when people have the experience of a corporation versus a loving relationship with each other. Thanks for posting.

  4. saw this on another post :

    and thought the comment fit well for this:

    “So many of us thought we were going to Disney World when we met Christ, but got led by well meaning people in to the bounce house (church). Assuming they knew the way, we believed we were being brought to Disney. For a while, we had fun jumping with the others in the bounce house, but then we began remembering all we had been told about Disney and said to ourselves; “I thought there would be more than this.” We start asking around, but everyone seems to ignore your questions. Finally, you go to the guy who is running the place and ask, “Is this really Disney World?” and he replies, “All you were told about Disney is here. You just need to bounce harder and higher.” So you go back to bouncing harder and higher, still having that nagging feeling that this isn’t really Disney. In the meantime, God is standing outside with our full pass ticket to Disney. I want to go to DISNEY!!!”

    1. scrunchy – The feeling I had when I finally detoxified myself from the machine was just like the winning football MVP after the superbowl .. “I am going to Disneyland!”

  5. This reminded me of a C.S. Lewis quote: “Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

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