Today, there are numerous kinds of churches with varying theologies, ministry philosophies, programs and styles to choose from. So selecting a church is not that easy. Some people look at the doctrinal position of the church, or the quality of leadership, or the worship experience, or the mission and values of the church. But many others have a more cultural approach. They want to settle in a church that includes people they can relate to. Others wonder if I can live with the things I don’t like about this church. Still others ask a simple question: Will I be happy here?
I can understand and appreciate that most people want to be happy in every field of endeavor. But I also know that in our well-meaning attempts to promote Christianity as the answer to everything, we have to be careful that we do not over promise. We want to help everybody we meet, so we have ministries and programs designed to address a wide spectrum of needs. Of course, it is impossible to have a program for every need. And no amount of programs can ensure your happiness.
I would like everyone who attends Northstar to have realistic, healthy expectations about our church. The reality is, Northstar may not always make you feel comfortable. Northstar will not be the answer to your every need. If you are single going to Northstar, the church will not guarantee you a spouse. Going to Northstar will not guarantee that your children will not be a challenge. Going to Northstar will not solve all your financial problems. And I can’t guarantee that you will be happy at Northstar, although I am pretty sure you will be.
Having said all that I believe God wants you happy at Northstar. Let me say that again because I believe it. God wants you happy here, not at a new church. Why? Because He planted you here for a reason.
The way to start feeling happy about your church is to stop looking inward and start looking outward. Stop asking “what’s in it for me?” and start asking how you can serve others. “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4) If you’re not serving, start doing so as 1 Peter 4:10 clearly tells us: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
When we serve with the motivation to honor the Lord, others will experience the love and truth of Jesus, and we will contribute to His kingdom. “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people…” (Ephesians 6:7).
If you are unhappy and thinking of leaving the church I would ask that you pray about the situation. Then call your campus pastor, schedule a meeting, and have an open, honest discussion with him about how you’re feeling. Tell him that you are unhappy and that you don’t want to leave, but you need to address your unhappiness, and allow him to speak to the sources of your unhappiness. Some of the very things that cause you the most trouble could be simple misunderstandings. Or they could be legitimate problems that we need to be aware of so we can consider any necessary changes.