I hear a complaint frequently about the flakiness of church goers. Mostly it comes from the leadership of churches when they have people come in and out of their congregation while "church shopping." I'm not sure who coined this term, but the church goer sees it as a necessary thing to find a church which suits them, and the pastors see it as a bad/sinful thing motivated from unbiblical American consumerism. Afterall, the church isn't about what the individual can get from the church, they'll say, but rather what the individual can give to the church.
But maybe it's not that people are wrong in their search, but that they're searching endlessly because nothing good actually exists. We inherently know we are not getting enough from church and that that is bad. Sure we need to give, but a church that does not feed its' sheep must have something wrong, right? At least this is our gut feeling. So we look elsewhere, continuing our hunt for a church which somehow brings a community we instinctually know we need. But in America it's hard to find.
Is the issue our pulpits and rows of pews/chairs?
Were we created for community we're not getting from big church? I did just write a post about the unity we should experience in Christ. Sadly the experience of most of us in big church is anonymity rather than unity.
It seems like the teaching is great, but apparently teaching is not sustaining us. Whether you're preaching exegetically or topically might not matter if it's still just teaching. But the churches keep complaining something is wrong with the people because the church is so certain about the way it's doing things it can't possibly be something wrong with themselves — can it?.
But where is the Biblical model for their lectures from the front? Where in the New Testament is the word "pulpit" used? Or instruction to Timothy for picking out one with just the right oak? And yet seminary grads cite their desire to preach from the pulpit as their reason for pursuing the pastorate.
Also I wonder what role lecture played in the life of the shepherd with his sheep. Was it an essential part of his raising the sheep into healthy adults? Did a lecture lead the sheep where they were supposed to go? Or did the shepherd lead by walking where he wanted his sheep to go?
Does preaching from the front effectively lead us to Christ? Or are people "church shopping" because they instinctually know it is not?