From December of 2005 to December of 2013, I ministered with Common Ground Community Church. The largest part of my work was as the Executive Pastor of the church. During my tenure with Common Ground Community Church, a small groups ministry was started, a Men’s Ministry was developed, a Women’s Ministry was created, and the church’s current ministries were organized. We also called a young man to lead the middle and high school students of our church. The senior pastor partnered with the church’s Elder board and developed a Leadership Training program for men to be trained in leadership roles of the church. It’s was team effort with the other Elders working with me and of course God is the One Who does it all. There is one thing during this time that was and still is troubling to me. The culture of mediocrity that has affected the church; not just Common Ground, but I think in the church as a whole.
The definition of mediocrity is the quality or state of being of moderate or low quality, value, ability: ordinary, so-so. We have stopped asking our people to step up and use their giftedness for the sake of the church body. We have not educated the new Christian to think of others before they think of themselves. Our churches have been so consumer oriented that the average member will just sit and be served instead of serving others. It’s amazing to me that God’s people can be alright just sitting and allowing a few to do all the work. It blows my mind and I try to think how this could have happened. I think one word can be given for the rise of the culture of mediocrity in the church; Accountability.
We do not hold our people accountable any more. We fear that they will get mad and leave the church. The statement is thrown out “We aren’t to judge our brothers or sisters but to love them.” We are to love them but what better way to show love but by holding a brother or sister in Christ accountable for their actions. James 5:19 and 20 says;
“My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”
The average church attendee has the wrong idea of what faithfulness is all about. Their view of faithfulness is a lower quality version of what faithfulness truly is all about. They see going to church as being good but if they get to bed too late on Saturday, they are alright with blowing off church and sleeping in. If junior or little girl has a function (sports, club activity, etc) on Sunday, that function is attended and church is blown off. I know people may miss church from time to time, but church should be something you set your Sunday to or whenever your church meets. Parents you are teaching your children on how important or unimportant church is by what your priority is. Do you miss church because of a sporting tournament season or because NASCAR is on or the NBA game is on? Church attendance has become of low value.
If you attend your church weekly, then I’m sure you are not part of the culture I am writing about. Or are you? Are you giving your all in your service; not just church attendance but are you serving the God Who gave His life for you?
The culture of mediocrity can and does affect church leadership. After hitting your head against the wall of lackadaisicalness enough times, it can affect the enthusiasm of the most faithful of God’s people. If you are a leader of a church and you are reading this, keep your eyes on God and follow His lead. He is the One who does; we are called to follow Him. He will make sure to send you workers when you need them. As leaders, we are called to hold our people accountable for what they are and what they are not doing.
I do want to make it a point to say that at Common Ground, we had some great workers. We had people doing multiple jobs. Common Ground was a church of 75-80 people so we did have holes in some ministries but we trusted God to send us workers. The church I am with now averages 500 to 600 in weekly attendance but this bigger church has the same issues I saw with the 75-80 sized church. More people do little to no service with the minority doing the majority of the work. With the culture of mediocrity, it makes it challenging. Especially if you have workers who don’t show up to serve (not calling to say they won’t make it). Or when they are not scheduled to serve in their ministry, they miss church regularly. It can get frustrating but you know as you educate the body on what the Bible says about faithfulness and holding the body accountable this culture can be undone in time. It’s all about staying true to “What does the Bible say.”