what would you change?

Written by Mark Lafler

B.A., Global University; M.C.S., Regent College I am currently serving as a youth minister at our church in Sarasota, FL. I am married to Tera (15 Years +) and we have 3 beautiful daughters.

July 1, 2011

If God gave you the ability to instantly change one thing in the contemporary church what would it be?

Now when you answer the question think about the word church.  It could refer to your local church group, your denomination, your church community, the North American church, the Asian church, etc.

Most churches are different and have strengths and weaknesses.

But many church “groups” have stereotypes and stereotypes are not wholly true, but contain some truth.

So what would you change?

It could be anything… attitudes toward people or God, the way money is spent, worship, actions, etc.

If God gave me this ability I would change the self-centeredness of the church.

Now, in context, I live in North America – particularly in the U.S.A.  – where life in general is narcissistic.

The problem I see is that there is little to no difference in the church.  For the most part many people live their lives the same and spend their money the same as the secular world.

O.K. , O.K. people might give up an hour or two on Sunday morning and give up to 10% of their income (maybe, probably less) to their local church – but what else is different?

It seems that most people are busy with their own lives.  The church itself seems busy with its own entity.

Yes, I think this is what I would change.

What would you change?


  1. Walter Kovacs

    I’d change the level of education, primarily. I’ve met too many Christians who don’t know where the basic ideas of the faith came from, or most of the key people in Christian history. That, and make learning the three ecumenical creeds mandatory.

    • Mark Lafler

      This would be way up on my list as well.  It seems most people barely know scripture (at least in context) let alone Christian history.

      I like creeds and they are very helpful for Christian worship and being able to help one understand the essentials of the faith.  Mandatory might be a little too far, but I get your point.  I would go as close to mandatory as possible without being mandatory.

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Nikole Hahn

      I agree. I wouldn’t mind taking a class like that in my church. We call that discipleship. We do need better discipleship.

  2. Brenda Coats

    I think I would change that exact thing. Next I would change the fact that few churches are evangelistic (and how could you be if you’re self centered?). And last, I would change all of the churches that are legalistic and try to find their own righteousness in the works they do, clothes they were, etc.

    Seems like we swing one way or the other, doesn’t it?

    • Mark Lafler

      It sure does seem we swing one way or the other.  Self-focus or focus on others in a legalistic way.  The middle might be best, eh?

      Thanks for your thoughts.

  3. Sheila Seiler Lagrand

    Just this week I received an email from my former church, a megachurch, inviting me to volunteer to help with an event. The email included this sentence:

    “This is going to be a major event that will
    showcase how we at [this church] care about those who are oppressed and
    have little or no access to justice.”

    Maybe this is a fine hair to split, but I would prefer for the emphasis to be on the caring, not on major events that showcase the caring.

    • Mark Lafler

      Interesting note Sheila!

      It does seem with the wording that the emphasis is on the church or the “showcase” of it.  I agree with you that the emphasis is better focused on the action (the doing) by the actions not on the church itself.

      Thanks for sharing.

  4. Jim McNeely

    One thing? I agree that education, creeds and general Biblical knowledge, are extremely important. I would say that the church needs far more emphasis on the redemption in Christ, the truths underlying grace, and the relationship between total forgiveness and virtue. In a nutshell, the church needs to minister from and teach grace.

    • Andy Carlson

      I agree…to often we teach the “rightness” of us…the “wrongness of them”…without the abiding opportunity for grace through understanding and forgiveness.

    • Mark Lafler

      Grace is really needed in our day.  Not a “greasy” grace, but a true understanding of Biblical grace. 

      Thanks for sharing.

  5. Nikole Hahn

    I would change the apathy, but I disagree on all churches being busy in its own entity. Not all churches are like that, some of them are bearing heavy burdens trying to reach an apathetic peoples.

    • Mark Lafler

      I agree not all churches are busy with their own entity.  I am speaking from a USA context that I am a part of.  It does seem that some of the loudest voices are very interested in themselves and the proclamation of their church community and thought(i.e. Christian TV, popular books, etc.). 

      You are right to share that there are a lot of churches that are different and their voices are being heard more and more.

      Thanks for sharing.

  6. Andy Carlson

    Each church, which I have attended, is, in their own
    peculiar ways, self righteous (effectively a separatist from the rest of
    “Christianity”), judgmental (“they are not like us so they can’t be right”),
    and lacking in humility (willingness to share in the lives – of people – of
    multiple churches – or our immediate communities without regard for the need of
    acknowledgement). There is a lack of openness to mingling within our many
    church, social and civic communities – a fear of the divergent thoughts, feelings,
    beliefs and practices of others.  There
    is an inability to converse, let along to live side by side, with those that
    are not “like us”.  We lack
    encouragement; we lack conversational experiences; we lack conversational
    skills; we are unable  and unwilling to
    share our values while acknowledging the differences between our levels of
    acceptance, tolerance, agreement, and condoning, of others while accepting
    that  each is God’s own created image
    whom we are called to love.  What would
    I change…I would challenge, change and provoke our leadership to be actively
    involved in the open discussion of society, culture and our opportunities and
    obligations to share and to serve; while encouraging and provoking their
    congregations to do likewise. I would invite an equal scriptural portion of the
    responsibilities of man to serve others in this world, in our choices and
    sharing with others; along with the Sovereignty of God.  We have far to long taken to the security of
    preaching (lecturing) on the Sovereignty of God while diminishing the
    importance of active involved involvement of humble servant hood to others in
    all walks of life; and the responsibilities of Christians to serving man in
    God’s Sovereign universe. (side note: If the church is “hamstrung” in its ability
    to share from the pulpit its’ convictions towards social or political topics of
    the day for fear of loosing its “not for profit status”, then I suggest we turn
    in our IRS 501c(3) certificate, pay our fair share of public taxes for the
    public services we receive…..and become actively open in our social and
    political dialogs.  If folks were to
    stop “tithing” and otherwise contributing to the church because it is no longer
    “tax deductible”, then I suggest their “giving” was not in the spirit
    sacrificial giving calls for).  Imagine
    what could happen if we actually spoke and actively lived out what we believe
    is right and encouraged others to do the same while serving in God’s love, in
    the name of Christ. That is what I would change.

    • Mark Lafler

      Good thoughts Andy, thanks for sharing and adding to the discussion.

      I do not think that the IRS 501c(3) is what holds back teachers and leaders in the church.  It is fear of people and acceptance and also ignorance on tax laws.

      Regardless, your suggestion is a worthy thought of change for the church.

      Speak the truth in love – Amen!


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what would you change?

by Mark Lafler time to read: 1 min