The Sunday school lesson was on idolatry. The teacher listed kinds of idolatry including greed, addictions and control. “Anything else you can think of?” he asked.
A woman in the front said, “Praise music. So many churches think that’s the only worship music to play. I thinking singing the same chorus over and over is a bit much.”
A man in the back row piped up. “Well, at least the churches that are playing that kind of music are attracting more people than we are.”
The woman sarcastically shot back, “Good for them.”
A few in the classroom chuckled.
The exchange bothered me, not just because of the woman’s flippant response. After all, some churches do idolize praise music (and others make idols of traditional hymns). It was the man’s statement that started chafing me a little. I am certain his heart was in the right place. I’m sure his reasoning was that this kind of music had the potential to attract a fresh, young demographic.
And then it hit me: bringing people to church isn’t our goal. Jesus never commanded us to fill the pews or pad the membership rolls. What he did command, however, was to “make disciples” (Matt 28:19).
A disciple is a student, a learner, an apprentice to a master. Our end game is not to put fannies in seats, but Christ in hearts. The church is a workshop where we help people absorb and implement the word of our Heavenly Rabbi, Jesus. We are to reproduce disciples, not recruit members. That’s the job of the Rotary Club.
Has your church ever discussed making disciples as their reason for existence? Of course, a congregation that did so might have lively discussions on the best way to do this. Some might even argue it should involve praise music.
Personally, I would rather debate the best way to make disciples than get bent out of shape about selecting new carpet for the sanctuary.