Recently, I had the honor of attending the church of my 80+ year-old godmother for Friends and Family Day. I’d not visited her church in decades, and quite honestly, don’t have or take the opportunity to visit many other churches than my own that often.
Knowing her church was “different from mine” I had a little hesitation about what to wear, how long it would last, if there’d be enough seats, if we’d arrive on time and the likes. My sister and I frantically rushed to get ready, both noting that we felt like we were going to church on Easter or preparing for a wedding because we wanted her girls and us to be just right. We enjoyed our time there as her Pastor talked about a universal subject…Family.
Having been a member of a few churches and even previously being married to a Pastor for nine years I know all too well the comparisons, complaints and sometimes competition sadly surrounding church. To me, it’s just not right. Sadly, some people often feel like their church is emphatically the best, as if the Lord designed His churches on a Collage Playoff National Championship format. They often declare that their Pastor preaches the best, or choir’s singing surpasses other churches. Some say blacks shouldn’t go to multi-cultural churches or whites don’t belong in traditionally black churches. Some churches are called Old School. Others are marked as too contemporary. Some have congregants who are both black and white, while others have parishioners who are only black, or only white or other shades of beauty. Some churches serve Mocha Lattes on Sundays and others hosts Vacation Bible School in the summer. Some church cultures require a suit and tie. Others welcome you in suits, shorts or sundresses.
I’m convinced that Jesus in NO WAY wanted His church to compare itself with His church. In the words of the legend known as Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that”! He cares about us all going to Heaven, loving each other and not living like we’re in hell while on earth. That’s it! We have a bigger battle to fight other than one with each other. Actually, in my opinion Church is like chicken. Now, before you laugh or think I’m being disrespectful hear me out. Chicken is one of those delicacies which offers a preparation process for everyone, and at the end of the day it is still chicken. Smelling the succulent aroma of fried chicken floating through my godmother’s church service from their fellowship hall I was reminded of growing up in a traditional, black, Baptist Church and now ending up in a contemporary, non-denominational, multi-cultural church and thinking that BOTH served me well!!!
Baked. Deep Fried. Pan Fried. Fileted. Flash-fried. Grilled. Cajun. Oven-baked. Smothered. Covered. Chunked. Crock-potted. Marinated. Injected. Sautéed. Spicy. Seared. Stuffed. Slow-roasted. Diced. Sliced. Secret-spiced. Hot-sauced. Hot-winged. Browned. Barbecued. Broiled. Blackened. Bone-in. Bone-out and so on, and so on, and so on. Chicken is chicken is chicken!
Much like church, concerning chicken, some like it hot and others can’t take the heat. Some seek it flavorful and others need it filtered. Some can digest a lot of extras and others prefer it plain. Some like it after it’s been marinated for a long time and others ask for it microwave ready. Some like it spicy and others require simple. Chicken can be prepared so many different ways and at the end of the day it’s STILL chicken with the same origin and same nutritional purpose. That’s just like church. With Christ, His word and His ways at the center we should all be able to find somewhere that fits us and not be bogged down with comparing or competing. I think God strategically uses unique Pastors to prepare His word and provide an atmosphere for worship for His unique people in MANY unique ways to make sure each unique spiritual appetite is appeased and none of His children go lacking. Now that’s a good Daddy! So the next time you’re tempted to compare churches, or share your two-cents on who should go where, and why, who’s not doing enough and why, and so on and so on…don’t. Just think of chicken and know that church, like chicken, has something for everyone.