Every ministry effort has its “Unintended Consequences.” As we innovate in our ministries, it’s vital we understand what they may be and minimize them from the outset. Here’s an “unintended consequence” from the “Seeker Sensitive” effort that now plagues many of our churches:
The Narcissistic Church
YouTube. MySpace. And, of course, iPod, iTunes, iMac, and iPhone.
If there is a theme to our day, it’s that “it’s all about me.” The technical term is narcissism. In Greek mythology, Narcissus is the character who, upon passing his reflection in the water, becomes so enamored with himself that he devotes the rest of his life to his own reflection. From this we get our term “narcissism,” the preoccupation with self.
We follow a Savior who said, “I did not come to be served, but to serve;” “Whoever wants to be great among us, must become the slave of all;” and then bowed in submission to the Father Himself and said, “Not my will, but yours.”
Yet a spiritual narcissism has invaded our thinking where the individual needs and desires of the Believer become the center of attention.
Have you ever heard the way we talk?
“I want to go where I’m fed” or “I need to be ministered to” rolls off our tongues without even blushing. We walk out of a worship service and say, “I didn’t get anything out of it” as if worship was about what we received rather than what we gave to God.
And it’s killing the church, blinding our vision, paralyzing our mission, and muting our voice.
But is it simply a reflection of a narcissistic culture? Or could it be something we secretly feed ourselves?
Then it’s not about whether you are fed, but whether or not you have learned to feed yourself and, best of all, feed others.
Then it’s not about whether you are ministered to, but whether you are, yourself, a minister to others.
Then it’s not about whether you got anything out of the service, but whether you gave God anything of service.
And that is a church that has died to itself enough to….live.
The recent missional and discipleship efforts are responses to this narcissistic consequence. What “Unintended Consequences” might we experience from these new ministry efforts?
Quoted content from the Serious Times newsletter and other content from Ed Stetzer