Is this a description of your congregation?
The perfect congregation pays the pastor 50 % more than the average salary of its members (and its members are all wealthy) and provides free of charge a new car every year. The parsonage has a Jacuzzi and provides large HD flat screen TVs in every room and the church pays for unlimited cable as a gift to the pastor. No one in the perfect congregation ever has an emergency later than 9 PM or earlier than 8 AM. No one in the perfect congregation ever quarrels with anyone else. The perfect congregation has a catered pastor appreciation dinner every year with caviar, filet mignon and lobster on the menu.
Maybe this description is closer to your perfect congregation:
The perfect congregation is 10 years old, with the fervent energy of a new organization, and it has 250 years of history in this town. Its members speak out on every timely and sensitive issue, and never disagree with each other. Its office is open from 8 in the morning to 10 at night, and its budget for administrative staff is $5,000 a year. This church has the highest possible moral ideals, and no one ever fails to live up to them, because that would make them hypocrites. It changes with the times and always does things the good old way. Its ministers are always available for meetings, spend twenty hours a week preparing their brilliant sermons, visit sick people all day long, and are never out of their office when someone is trying to reach them. No one has to pledge more than two hundred dollars, and it has a million-dollar budget! Everyone volunteers cheerfully for whatever needs doing, and no one has to go to any committee meetings.
The advantages of a ‘perfect’ congregation (when the perfect congregation is a cornfield!):
- They all have ears! (I’m sorry I couldn’t resist that one)
- They never fall asleep while your preaching, after all they stand throughout the entire service.
- You only have to reach one age group – the corn ages at pretty much the same rate.
- You never need to find a nursery worker! Amen!
- A baby never cries while you are preaching.
- No one’s cell phone ever goes off during the preaching.
- You can preach as long as you want!
- Nobody ever complains about your preaching.
- The auditorium is always full, until harvest season.
- Right after harvest the preacher gets to go on his yearly sabbatical.
- There is never a church split, unless you have a problem with deer.
- None of your church members ever join another church, because they are deeply rooted in yours.
- You are never overloaded with counseling.
- No church discipline is ever needed.
- No scandals ever rock the church.
- No building program is ever needed.
- No one ever complains.
- Church promotions are not needed to fill the pews, I mean the rows.
- Nobody ever steals someones’ seat.
- The teenagers never dress weird.
- You never miss any return visits.
- They never get entangled with the affairs of this world.