For the last few months, I’ve been really challenged personally about this idea I’m calling the idolatry of the grass. And it all came to a head when I recently visited a few other churches.
Here’s the basic premise: The grass always appears so much greener on the “other side.” I know this metaphor has been used for years, but it seems to be flaring up around me – and within me – more consistently and fiery than in recent years. In this case, I’m not referring to material things; I’m referring to CHURCH.
If we did things like THAT church, then we’d be x, y, and z.
If we reached young adults like THAT church, then I’d be more passionate about our mission.
If our pastor was like THAT pastor, then I’d start giving everything I’ve got.
If we had a social media presence like THAT church, then I’d want to invite my friends.
If I’m honest, I’ve gone through periods where the grass always looks so much greener at other churches. Because of how easily accessible so many churches are through their online presence and social media, I feel like I can get a glimpse into just how perfectly manicured, and spotless the church appears to be.
But then I visited some of these churches, met with some of their staff, and learned something: The grass ain’t that green. Staff still feel tension. Churches struggle to get people to come back again. Ministries struggle to get people engaged in the mission.
It’s an age-old trap, but one that is being utilized in a different way because of social media and a church’s online presence. It’s the trap – the idolatry – of comparison.
Does this mean we can’t look to other churches and learn from them? Of course it doesn’t mean that. We should always look to other churches to learn from them.
Does this mean whatever church you are at should walk around feeling and acting like it’s the greatest ever? Of course it doesn’t, but it does mean we can appreciate the church we are at for who we are and not always wish we were someone or something else.
I’m done with the idolatry of the grass. Idolizing other churches keeps us from truly engaging in the one God has placed us in. The grass ain’t that green, anyways. Let’s embrace the dirty, broken, brown-ish grass God has placed us in and continue to work towards it becoming a little more green.