I am currently reading a book called “Franchising McChurch: Feeding our obsession with easy Christianity” by Thomas White and John M. Yeats, and it has really shocked me with some things it talks about with what church has become. The book has discussed how our world is becoming McDonaldized. McDonalds has become such a model for successful businesses that even the church has become modeled to look like it. The quote I ran into the other day was this: “I guess if you can get a sandwich in thirty seconds or less, why not church?” Yikes, this really rang true for me. I cannot count the number of times that I have looked at the clock and groaned when I realized the pastor was going over and the service was going to be over an hour long.
I have become so accustomed to getting out of service an hour after it has started that I no longer pay attention to what I am getting out of it, it’s all about getting to the restaurants before the rush, or even starting homework so I can finish in time for my favorite show. This saddens me. I am so used to getting things quick and when I want them. No longer do I worry about how something is affecting me, now it is how quickly can I get this done.
We put relationships into hour timeslots and do not flow with the relationship. I am a victim of this. I get so busy following my to-do list that I do not pay attention to the needs of those around me. I find myself squeezing relationship time and friend time into my free time instead of making time to connect with people. And this is sadly what my relationship with God has become as well, and with church. Instead of asking, “How can I help”, I ask, “what time will it be over.”
A few weeks ago some students did a skit at Vespers (our Sunday night worship service). In this service, a girl had her to-do list laid out on the calendar in front of her. She had scheduled time to be involved in Sunday school, small groups, all the things that “good” Christians do. One by one her peers came up to her and asked her to serve or help in some way. One really needed to help, one needed help with a service project, one with Sunday school, and one with volunteering, and to each one she gave a response something to the affect of: “I can’t. I am so busy. I have small group (or worship team, or Sunday school), and that is something I’m doing to connect with God.” At the end “Jesus” came up to her and asked her again why she could not help those people and at the end he said, “whatever you have done for the least of things you have done for me.”
What struck me about this skit was the time. I get wrapped up in being busy and saying no to relationships for other things. If this had been my story, Jesus probably would have asked, “Why haven’t you spent any time with me this week?” and I would have said, “but Jesus, I did. I went to small group, I had my quiet time, I was on worship team,” and then he would have said something to the affect of, “but I tried to spend relational time with you and you said you were too busy.”
I keep thinking: how many times do I get caught up in being busy doing things when God would rather have me growing relationships and witnessing growth in the people around him? What if I had slowed down this week and stopped to talk to those around me? Would I have been able to help someone see God? These questions haunt me.
I need to slow down and take time to say yes and move things around. Sometimes you can be so busy and not notice the opportunities that God has placed in front of you. I am afraid that the church is getting caught up in the fast-food mentality of the world around us. We need to not be afraid to slow down and get back to the relationships and community around us.