I recently read a blog post by Perry Noble about a bad experience his wife had, this got me to thinking.
One of the places that my wife and I wen’t to quite frequently when we were first married was Quick Koala (yes, I’ve changed the name, because I still like to eat at “Quick Koala”). I would go there and get Kung-Pow Chicken and Beef with Broccoli. I loved it… so did Beth, she always got their orange chicken.
One day, the orange chicken was “not so good.” She only took one bite and pushed the rest around with her chopsticks (yes, we use the chopsticks… it’s the total experience). The next time I said, “hey, why don’t we get Quick Koala?” the response was “mmm, no that doesn’t sound good.” She didn’t come out and say it at first, we’ve just not been back (when we were together… I do, from time to time, visit the Quick Koala when dining alone or with others).
Eventually I asked, “what’s the deal?” and she told me “I had a bad experience.”
This has happened with many restaurants… “Underground,” “Gigantic Burrito Place,” etc. Each time Beth’s defense is “I had a bad experience.”
How many times do we come across people who’ve “left the church” because they “had a bad experience?” Is this a valid reason, or is this just a copout? Obviously someone’s experience is someone’s experience, but let me talk a little more about Beth (which is where Perry’s post got me thinking).
This has happened with Chick-Fil-A before. Beth comes home from having an outing with Chick-Fil-A and she says to me “I had a bad experience at Chick-Fil-A…” to which I respond (as I am supposed to), “Really? What happened?”
The details of the incident are not important for this post, but it will do to simply say that we still love Chick-Fil-A and we still go there every chance we get (BTW Chick-Fil-A, how do you not have a stand-alone location in Edwardsville, IL? The line would wrap around the building all day long…).
What was the difference? Beth is 100% committed to Chick-Fil-A.
She loves their philosophy and she loves their food.
They are not open on Sundays, their product is consistently good, their workers are (usually) friendly and helpful, they are family friendly, and this is true no matter where you are or which Chick-Fil-A you walk into. This has built a commitment on my wife’s part, she loves Chick-Fil-A.
The same could be said for other retailers, like Apple Inc., for example, but if you build a philosophy that attracts fanatics to your organization, you will have people who are committed…
Now back to “the Church.”
If a local church does a good job of executing any one Sunday or any one person’s one time experience or not, we (the Church) have the best “product” there ever could be… In fact, it’s right there in the name “Good News” a.k.a. the Gospel. Sure, someone may have a bad experience at this church or that, and it will happen at every church from time to time, but if they are a Christian, they have already said that they are “100% committed.” Someone should not let one “bad experience” turn them away from Church, and if they can, then (I would submit) then they are not all that committed to the Gospel, or they might not have understood it when they said “I’m in.”
There is no Gospel without the church, we are the only plan for communicating it, and we are the only group within which Christians can grow in maturity (cf. Eph. 4).
Is this you? Have you had a bad experience? Join the club. So have I. Just as my wife isn’t going to let one location or one employee undo her commitment to Chick-Fil-A, you need to reevaluate for yourself. Ask yourself this “am I committed to Jesus…” if your answer is “yes” then you need to be an active member of a local church. It doesn’t need to be “this one” or “that one” per se, but you do need to pick one. Get back on that horse.
Here’s an extra prophetic word… you’ll have a bad experience there too. Don’t jump-ship too easy. If it’s something systemic and a major issue, okay, go to yet another church, but don’t “unplug” altogether. Be 100% committed!
What do you think?
Do people give-up on church too quick?
Have you “given up on Church?”