Contribute vs. Critique

Allyssa and I are rather strange. But we don’t realize it until people point it out. A lot of what we do as pastors seems normal to us, but when others point it out (often as a compliment, sometimes as a complaint), we then realize that we’re not normal. We might take too much pride in being different, which is a post for another day. For now, let me share one such idea that some find unique about us.


At Central City Church, with everything we do, from worship to small groups to missions, we look for places where people can CONTRIBUTE. 

When someone says, “This should be different!” we say, “How can we help you make it different?” 

It’s not about a small group of people putting on a show, and then having people show up and watch it. It’s about creating space for people like you and those in our community to offer what you have to the conversation and the world. 

Everything we do is an invitation to CONTRIBUTE. 

Of course, this comes with boundaries, but those are designed to help, not hinder. And those who choose to contribute help shape, in rather significant ways, what it looks like—even, sometimes, the boundaries. 

As consumers, we tend to want to consume. Seems obvious, but don’t let the meaning pass you. We are conditioned to consume. And consuming means receiving and then critiquing. We go to a restaurant, and then we rate the experience. Sometimes we do this formally on an app like Yelp or Google, but even when we don’t do it formally, we talk about the experience. 

“The food was good, but the service was lacking”

“That was amazing”

“I’m never coming here again.”

We consume and then critique. 

The church isn’t supposed to be like this. 

Instead of receiving, we are meant to give. 

Instead of critiquing, we’re meant to contribute. 

This is a huge shift for us to make. 

Imagine showing up at a restaurant, see what could be done differently, and instead of filling out a review, you volunteer to do it yourself? You go to the manager and say “Your host is really missing an opportunity to create a powerful experience for your guest. I’d be willing to serve in that role once a month, and here’s what I’d suggest doing.”

This would be weird. And yet this is exactly what’s expected when you belong to a community. 

The best critiques are offered by someone willing to contribute. 

Now, we don’t always do this well. We fall short often enough. But this is our goal. This is what we’re striving for. And we’d like to do it better. Maybe that’s something you can help contribute towards? (See what I did there?)

Still not convinced? Check our 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12. 

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