The Terrible Shift To Preference Driven Church

I recently read Thom Rainer’s book, I Will – Nine Traits Of The Outwardly Focused Christian. This great little book is perfect for a small group or class who wants to look at some basics of what it means to live the life of a believer.

In the chapter on corporate worship, Dr. Rainer talks about the terrible shift that happened in American worship somewhere in the last century. The attitude in our culture went from “a self-sacrificing service and worship of God to consumer-focused, self-serving attitude.” There could be any number of reasons this shift occurred, but it could primarily be because our culture has shifted in general to an “all about me” style.

Not going to church because you don’t like the preacher or the music or because you don’t like the surroundings, seats or temperature can signal a heart that has become focused on preferences and not on the corporate worship of God.

Another aspect of preferences comes in the commitment to corporate worship. We begin to treat gathering for worship with the church as something that we do when it fits. When any other little thing presents itself, we change plans and corporate worship gets the boot.

“For many Christians, all other activities have become mandatory while the worship service has become optional. Corporate worship is not one option among many, it should be a consistent and persistent practice of all believers.”

Make a commitment to be in the worship service – it’s amazing how we will do something when it becomes our priority.

And it’s amazing to see how God will show up and work as we seek first the kingdom in commitment to worship each week.

In the last month, I’ve heard two great stories from students in our church. One middle school student skipped a championship tournament to be in worship on Confirmation Sunday. Another high school student challenged her workplace schedule to make sure she was able to be in Sunday worship. Both stories were lived out and provided a huge witness and example to others. Both were evidence of a generation who is seeking to worship God first, by making a solid commitment to corporate worship.

Thom Rainer ends each chapter of this great book inviting people to commit by saying, “I will.”

Tell me you can say, “I will be in worship this Sunday.”

Pick up a copy of this book here! 

Or you can get it in bulk here. 



“We church members must cease and desist becoming “I want” members and become “I will” members.”

“the health of the church is directly tied to the health of groups in the church. If you are not in a small group, a Sunday school class, or some other type of group, you are not contributing to the health of the church.”

“if you think Lone Ranger Christianity is acceptable to God, you need to read the New Testament again. It’s time for millions of church members to connect relationally by getting involved in a group.”

“For many Christians, all other activities have become mandatory while the worship service has become an optional afterthought.”

“Church burnout will not take place if we are seeking to please God in our service rather than to please people.”

“One person in the church can make a difference. One member committed to going can be a spark that ignites a fire.”

“It’s time for church members to stop nitpicking small issues and discover the hurts and needs where they can serve.”

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