Summary: A sermon about going from a consumer mentality to a "not about me" mentality.
“It’s Not About Me”
There can be no doubt that we are living in a consumer culture.
If we don’t like the service at a certain restaurant—we go to another one…
…or if they change their menu we might move on.
We don’t shop at a certain store if they don’t carry our specific brand of deodorant.
And I could go on and on and on…
…but you get it.
And there is nothing wrong with this.
The problem comes when this “consumer culture” creeps into the Church of Jesus Christ.
A well-known phrase in this day and age is something called, “church shopping.”
It’s kind of like, “as soon as there is something I don’t like that happens at this church, I’m gonna leave.”
Perhaps it has to do with the music.
Do we sing out of the hymnals or read the words on the screen?
Do we sing the old hymns or newer songs?
Do we use drums and guitars or do we just use the organ?
In recent decades churches have split over these kinds of things, and thus great ministries have been knocked down and left for dead because of music preferences.
Or, perhaps, someone decides that they don’t like the way the children’s ministry is being done, or the Youth ministry.
Or maybe the pastor didn’t come visit enough when someone was in the hospital.
Or maybe someone doesn’t like the color of the carpet…
…or the way we do Communion…
…or the kind of people who are joining the church…
…or there are too many children…
…or there are not enough children…
…whatever it is: that kind of stuff is allowing the Consumer Culture to enter the Church!!!
But Jesus calls us not to a “consumer mentality” but to a “it’s not about me” mentality.
Last week I went to an Evangelism Conference which featured the pastor of Ft. McKinley United Methodist Church in Dayton, Ohio.
A number of years ago, Ft. McKinley had been a “happening” church.
They had thrived and many of the folks who lived in their neighborhood were the people who came to their church.
But, over time, the neighborhood changed…
…and Fort McKinley United Methodist Church did not reach out to the new people who had taken up residence in the homes around the church.
By 2008, about 40 people were worshipping at Fort McKinley United Methodist Church on any given Sunday…
…and they were all older folks driving in from another part of town.
But, over the past 4 years Ft. McKinley United Methodist Church has gone from worshipping 40 people to 450 people!!!
And the key is that they have made a connection with the local community.
They made a decision that if their traditions or old ways of doing things were keeping them from doing God’s will—they would no longer do them!
They made the decision to embrace a “It’s not about me” mentality.
And a great example of living that mentality out is a man named Hugh Hess.
Ft. McKinley United Methodist Church is the only church Hugh has ever known.
He has been a member there for years and years and years.
And that Church is his life.
At the conference, his pastor said, “Every time you walk through the door of the church building you will find Hugh Hess up to his elbows in soap bubbles.”
The pastor also said that Hugh Hess is one of his heroes.
And this is because Hugh is such a great Christian man.
He sees the big picture.
Does Hugh like the new music that they are now playing at the church?
Hugh doesn’t like it.
But Hugh has stayed at the church and there is hardly anyone more excited about what is going on there.
Hugh would rather hear the organ and sing the old hymns.
But Hugh stays.
And if you were to ask Hugh why he keeps going to a church where he doesn’t like the music he will tell you, “It’s not about me. I see how this church is changing lives, and if different music is part of what it takes to do this…
…if, in order for us to reach this neighborhood for Christ I have to be a little uncomfortable—I’ll be a little uncomfortable!!!”
Sometimes the pastor will call Hugh up on stage during a worship service in order to use him as an example.
He’ll put his arm around Hugh and ask, “Hugh, do you like the music in this church?”
Hugh will always answer, “No. I hate the music in this church.”
Then the pastor will ask Hugh why he stays at a church where he ‘hates’ the music.
And Hugh’s answer?
“It’s not about me.”
That is what the church is to be about.