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.