For instance, people have left PCC (or will be leaving) because:
- We don’t do interpretive dance
- We don’t include a certain doctrine in our tenets
- We don’t have a ministry style from the 70s or 80s
- We don’t do church like their last church
- We don’t do church like the Brownsville revival
- We don’t…. whatever.
Some people prefer a certain “flavor” of church. It doesn’t matter how much kingdom work is actually being accomplished there, they get tunnel vision and focus on the minors while overlooking the majors. In fact, to them, “flavor” is more important than “results” – their preference is more important than the church’s mandate - the Great Commission.
Such people eventually bolt and attend another church. They often end up at a church that is not accomplishing anything for the kingdom of God. It’s some rinky-dink place running about twenty-two people that never reaches anyone - but they’ll attend there just so they can experience a certain flavor.
At PCC, real kingdom work is actually being accomplished. People are being saved, baptized, discipled, changed by God’s power, and marriages are being put back together. Teenagers are on fire for God. Children are being instructed and grounded in God’s Word. Then there was the Cardboard Testimony – that was dramatic demonstration of what the power of God is truly accomplishing in our midst.
But for some, none of that matters. We aren’t their “flavor.”
One person wants to twirl around in the isles at PCC and exercise her “gift.” Okay, fine. But is that more important than real kingdom work? Is it more important than a sinner being saved? What about being a distraction? Is it more important to twirl in the isle than to “pluck a firebrand from the burning?” Apparently so. This person is on her way out and will eventually bolt from PCC and find another church where twirling in the isles is permitted - but where no one is being saved or discipled. That is the height of spiritual immaturity. Under the guise of finding a more spiritual church, this person reveals that her choice is really all about her and what she wants, and the lost be damned.
A while back another person wanted us to do the Brownsville thing. Nothing wrong with that style, it's just God hasn't called us to be that. Never mind, that in the absence of a Brownsville style church service, PCC is seeing an amazing move of God in our midst. We weren’t the flavor this person wanted, so he bolted…. loudly… taking 3-4 others with him.
Still another person wanted us to include a certain doctrine in our tenets of faith. Because it is not included in print and promoted, this person decided he was unable to continue with us, taking his family with him. Never mind, that in the absence of promoting this non-essential doctrine, hundreds of people have been saved from a life of sin. I ask you, which is more important? Changed lives or a non-essential doctrine? Which of these two issues do the angels in heaven rejoice over?
When you are being pulled in so many different directions by so many different people all at the same time, it quickly becomes apparent that there is no possible way to meet all those expectations. I don't even try. In fact, I fiercely defend who we are. I will go to the mat with anyone over this.
The most unselfish (and mature) thing a believer can do is put aside their own preferences for the sake of others. The apostle Paul did this… and it’s Biblical to do so. I guess this part of the Bible has evaded these (spiritually mature) people.
The kinds of people we are looking for at PCC are the lost, the least, and the lonely - the discarded ones. These are the ones who God will send our way, and when they are won to Christ they buy in, serve, give, pray, sweep the floors, and take care of the babies in the nursery when nobody else will.
The already-saved, on the other hand, who are searching for a certain flavor of church, will want to argue about almost anything. They talk about action and do very little. They want to twirl in the isles but never share their faith. They want to micro-manage the leadership. When they discover that we are not their flavor, will leave.
Every week, every month, every year someone (or a group) comes along and attempts to reinvent us into their idea of what we should be. Or “this is how we did it at my last church.” We can’t do it. We know what our mission is, and we know what our mission is not. We don't try to accommodate everyone or attempt to please everyone. We know what the main thing is, and we keep the main thing the main thing. That’s why we are a healthy, growing, and thriving church. We have our own flavor.
So flavor this.