Attending a Drive-Thru Church
For many years a lot of Christians have joked about a “drive-thru” church. When churches start moving meeting times around based on people’s extra-curricular activities we joke that soon we’ll just be able to get drive-thru church.
Pull up, order the service you want, grab it in a brown paper bag, and drive off it.
Yet isn’t that what many people are already getting out of traditional church services?
We offer a menu of sorts. You can choose from Sunday school, traditional worship service, contemporary worship service, prayer meeting, Bible study, small group, youth group, children’s ministry, women’s ministry, men’s ministry, and this list could go on for a long time.
All of these menu items are created to draw the consumer closer to God. They are designed to allow the consumer choice in how they learn, how they worship, and how they serve. Not one of the items on this menu is bad for your spiritual health.
What happens when you go through a real drive-thru?
1) You order into a computerized box fronting for the person
you’re really speaking to. Sometimes the message gets skewed
because this isn’t a conversation directly between two people.
2) You pull around the building, wait in a long line of others just
like you but entirely separate, to hand over money to an
individual waiting with their hand out at the window.
3) Receipt in hand, you pull to the next window where another
stressed-out, harried employee will thrust your paper bags and
beverages out the window and into your vehicle. They’ll try to
smile and be friendly, but the truth is in their eyes. It’s been a
4) You pull off. Not happy. Not sad. Not changed in any way. You
got what you expected.
Does this sound at all like what goes on in a church on a weekly basis? Do you see why it’s drive-thru instead of dine in?
A PRESENT DAY EXAMPLE
Let’s say Jorge chooses Sunday school, contemporary worship, and youth group from the menu. As a thirty-something-year-old male, he’s made some good choices! A time to learn, a time to worship, and a time to serve.
However, his Sunday school class is large in number and the teacher is a retired college professor. Old school. There isn’t really any conversation in this Sunday school class.
Then when Jorge attends worship, it’s filled with families. Jorge is single and no one in his family lives in this area. He attends church alone.
On Wednesday nights Jorge serves in youth ministry. He has been assigned a small group of seventh grade boys to meet with. He teaches them every Wednesday night and makes an effort to make it to something extracurricular one of them has at least one other night a week. He has yet to form any relationships with adults through this ministry.
Jorge isn’t unhappy at church. He’s getting exactly what he expected. I doubt he would even consider saying he attends a drive-thru church.
However, if we simply pull up to the church, do what we came to do and then leave having given and received exactly what we expected, then hasn’t our church became a drive-thru church?
If we hurry in, hurry out, and have no real connections in between, then we’re definitely just driving-thru church. (TWEET)
Love God. Love people.
Those are awfully hard commandments to keep when we never form any relationships with people because of our drive-thru society.
What steps can we take this week to stop driving-thru life and instead form relationships with those who are around us?
You can read part 2 of this series here.