Arby’s Bell

Arby’s Bell   Glenn W. Harrell   7-15

I was a patron at Arby’s recently. It had been some time for me. Since I ate there last, they had added several nice sandwiches to the menu and a few others were dropped.

The addition I noticed most, however, was the bell at the door. When you finish your meal and as you leave, the management at Arby’s wants you to ring the bell for all to hear IF you had a pleasant experience, and IF your food was “great”, and IF you just happen to remember.

My sandwich was great and the fries were hot and the service was jam up.

My table was clean and the view was fine and the background music…

Man, a lot goes into satisfying the public! I did ring the bell in appreciation.

_____________________________________________

I could just picture that bell in the modern church foyer.

Many churches would want to use it just like Arby’s.

And this is where we find ourselves today. Our me-ism, narcissistic-prone world and culture wants to know what people think almost as an obsession. For many, church has become yet another stop-n-shop. “What can you offer me and mine?”

The Evangelical and Main-line Denomination churches are losing members and shrinking daily. They bend over backwards trying to “please the customer” at any cost. Yet, we aren’t seeing new converts as much as we watch members of one church leave their flock for another that is bigger, better and more “contemporary” than the old.

We have supported a shopper’s world in matters of faith, not about doctrine and truth, but features and benefits like coffee, tea and me. The new god of Christianity has a towel over his arm, and he openly asks each of the customers, “how may I assist you today?” (see Osteen and many others for this theology, Hedonism in practice)

WILL THE CHURCH SURVIVE THIS CONSUMER-DRIVEN APPROACH?

This is how the “New and Improved” church hopes to survive the shopper’s finicky world of carnality and materialism—Keep on doing the same thing:

1-Leave out the “offensive” verses in the bible. In fact, just leave the bible out altogether if possible. Just be “positive, affirming, and progressive”.

2-Add the food and beverage.

3-Hire entertainers (preachers and musicians) who can keep the whole thing going without God. Performance, not Pastoral, degrees are needed.

4-Look the part. Dress down, dumb down and yet stand up for 30 minutes adoring the musicians on the “stage”. –musicians who need an audience, not a congregation.

5-Think big enterprise. Look for CEO, CFO, leaders who understand and value spreadsheets-profit and loss margins, above truth of scripture.

Consider what Paul said about truth and pleasing God:

I am shocked that you have so quickly turned from God, who chose you because of his wonderful kindness. You have believed another message, when there is really only one true message. But some people are causing you trouble and want to make you turn away from the good news about Christ. I pray that God will punish anyone who preaches anything different from our message to you!  It doesn’t matter if that person is one of us or an angel from heaven.  I have said it before, and I will say it again. I hope God will punish anyone who preaches anything different from what you have already believed. I am not trying to please people. I want to please God. Do you think I am trying to please people?  

If I were doing that, I would not be a servant of Christ.”  Galatians 1:6-10

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YES, we need a bell in our church foyer.

But this bell need be touched by no man, woman, boy or girl.

We need a heart cry to hear God ring this bell in His approval of the intent of our hearts, the words of our mouth and our devotion to His will as we depart.

Let’s allow God to do the performance review on us, not the other way around.

Lord Jesus, may my life and my worship be so aligned as to please you first and serve others unselfishly. I say with the Apostle Paul, “I want to please God.” Such is a fragrant aroma.

Such is the bell I want to hear.

“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
In the city of our God, His holy mountain.”
Psalm 48:1

 

 

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