Thom S. Rainer on Seven Reasons Why Your Church is Not a Cafeteria

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I have pretty clear memories of my first visit to a cafeteria. I was five years old, and my parents wanted our family to experience a Morrison’s Cafeteria in Montgomery, Alabama. 

It was amazing. I saw untold numbers of dishes of meats, vegetables, salads, fruits and, of course, desserts. I had never seen anything like it. Mom and Dad had already given my brother and me strict instructions on how much we could choose. But, for a small-town kid who had never seen such a feast, I was amazed.

The concept was basic. If you paid your money, you could choose whatever you wanted. Your preferences were paramount. It was all about you.

It sounds like some churches we know.

Though we don’t have the numbers of cafeterias we once had, the lessons are instructive. Simply stated, your church is not a cafeteria. Here are seven differences. 

In a cafeteria, you pay for your preferences. In a church, you should give abundantly and joyfully without expecting anything in return. If you ever hear someone say, “We pay the bills in this church,” you know they act like the church is a cafeteria.

In a cafeteria, the focus is on you. In a church, the focus should be on God first and then others. If you ever hear someone say, “I’m not getting fed in this church,” you know they act like the church is a cafeteria.

In a cafeteria, you demand to have things your way. In a church, you should sacrifice your own needs for others. If you ever hear someone say, “I want the order of service to be like it’s always been,” you know they act like the church is a cafeteria.

In a cafeteria, the business must continue to make things more appealing and attractive for you to return. In a church, you should not expect to be entertained to get you to come back. If you ever hear someone say, “I’m going to a church where the music is more exciting,” you know they act like the church is a cafeteria.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Thom S. Rainer