When Not Being Better Is Better

February 9, 2017

by Erin Bird

At least once a week, when I walk into the Men's locker room at The W, the TV is tuned to a program on ESPN that pits two men verbally sparring with one another about the topic of sports. As I take 3 minutes to get ready for my workout, I have to listen to these two TV personalities yell and mock one another. Doesn't matter if it's about the NFL, NBA, NHL, or NRA, these two guys endlessly try to convince the other their opinions about which quarterback is more impressive is more correct than the guy across the desk.

I can't stand the program. It seems so silly to me for grown men to sit in suits on a television set arguing about things that don't truly matter.

But many times in life, our arguments are just as silly...

  • One person thinks J.R.R. Tolkien was a far better author than C.S. Lewis while his friend shakes his head in unbelief at the blasphemy just uttered by his peer.
  • One person mocks Waterstreet Grill as horrific while her neighbor thinks its the best restaurant in the whole Cedar Valley.
  • One person can't wait for the next Marvel comic movie while the other person ridicules him for wasting his time and money on such "low" art.

And these silly arguments extend to churches as well.

"Well, my church is better than your church!"

We are in a series here on the blog about The Riverwood Way. This week we come to "...is not better, just different."

I could tell you story after story of people who have told me why their church was the best church in town (including pastors). They will rag on all the other churches, telling me in detail everything wrong with each congregation, and how their church family is superior.

I believe for this one person, their church IS better – for them. But it may not be accurate to truly say that their church is better for everyone.

  • One church may have great preaching, but that doesn't mean they have a corner on the gospel message.
  • Another church might have amazing music, but that doesn't mean other churches aren't worshipping God wholeheartedly.
  • A different church might have an amazing kids ministry or youth group, but that doesn't mean God isn't working in the lives of school kids in other congregations.

To think otherwise means the sin of pride is ruling in your life.

If the people of a particular church think the measure of success is being "better" than the other churches in town, they have lost sight of their first love. To truly be "better" is not to think you are better than everyone else; to be "better" is to realize your church is just merely one expression of God's global church. Your church isn't "better" than another church if the vision of the other church is also seeking to proclaim the gospel and help people find and follow Jesus. Your church is just different.

So please help Riverwood be "better" by not focusing on whether we are "better" than other churches in the area. Let's just be who God is shaping us to be. Let's realize that no church is perfect. Let's just be comfortable being different, so we can celebrate when we hear about God working in the life of another church family as we also pray for Him to do what only He can do in our church as well.

Erin Bird Lead Pastor - Riverwood Church

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Riverwood Church, Waverly Iowa

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