On a church-wide level, it's amazing what happens when we embrace humility and admit when we’re wrong. For the past several years, Westboro Baptist Church in Topkea, Kansas has been in the news for the opposite. They have no concept of customer service. In fact, I doubt they've ever thought about serving anyone.
They have regularly picketed across our country any events of communal grief. When the anniversary of the Virginia Tech massacre (April 16) arrived in 2011, they showed up on the streets of Blacksburg with their "God hates fags" signs. (Yes, their website can be accessed through www.godhatesfags.com.) Harsh words, I know, but as of the time of publication of this book, I can only identify that "church" as one in which the New Testament points to as false teachers and destructive to the gospel.
You see, they are known for their hatred. Wikipedia states that the church is, "known for its extreme stance against homosexuality and its protest activities, which include picketing funerals of American servicemen and desecrating the American flag. The church is widely described as a hate group and is monitored as such by the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center. It is headed by Fred Phelps and consists primarily of members of his large family; in 2011, the church stated that it had about 40 members."
How can such a small group of people inflame an entire nation? For one, they are zealous about their perspective. Instead of saying, "I'm wrong," they scream, "You're wrong." Second, they're persistent. Third, they are self-sacrificing. By all reports, they use their own funds to travel across the country to protest.
I wonder what might happen if real Christ-honoring churches (I do not consider WBC to be a Christ-exalting or honoring group.) would become as known for our "customer service" as WBC is known for its hatred?
How do we treat our communities, towns and their leaders? Do we reach out to them? Do we intentionally build relationships with them? I've not yet met a principal who didn't welcome a group of people that wanted to help his school. I'm not talking about putting up posters about a church activity. I'm talking about painting a classroom or collecting school supplies for students who come from lower-income families.
What are we known for?
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5.14-16 ESV)
When we become known for our lives of loving service rather than our weekly services, we are beginning to transition from being church-centered to being people-centered. If we exist only for ourselves and our church activities, we are missing the heart of our Savior who was centered on showing His Father's love to people who did not know Him.