A few years ago I went on a mission trip to the Seattle, Wash., area. I spent one day going door to door in a blue-collar neighborhood in Tacoma. We took a religious survey, offered a thank-you gift for their time, shared our faith with those who would listen, and asked what ways the church could minister to people. A few people responded, but nothing exciting happened. That is, until we met one extroverted lady.
We knocked on the door, and a middle-aged woman came to the door, with a house full of children peeping out at us from behind her large frame. When we told her that we were taking a religious survey for the local Baptist church, and wanted to offer her some coffee or a calling card as thanks for her time, she got excited. She wanted both gifts, but finally settled on the calling card. She had a strong opinion about everything we asked her, and talked at great length, sometimes rambling. She expressed a faith in Christ, and an interest in coming to the church, but she had a question.
“Do you have a menopause class at that church? That’s what I need.”
I looked at the local church member who was with me for an answer. He had no idea what to say. Then we all burst out laughing.
That woman’s question reminds me of an important lesson about the church. No matter how hard a church tries, it cannot satisfy the felt needs of all people. Even if a church offers a thousand classes and ministries for every need imaginable, there will still be somebody somewhere who wishes the church offered something else that it did not offer. So instead of trying to please everybody, a church first needs to make sure that it pleases God.
God is pleased when a church focuses on sharing the good news about Jesus. That’s what Jesus told the disciples before He ascended to Heaven. “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you,” Jesus said. “You will be my witnesses,” he said (Acts 1:8). “Go and make disciples,” he commanded. “Baptize them. Teach them to observe what I commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20.)
If it takes a menopause class to tell them about Jesus, then a church may need a menopause class. But most churches would probably do better by saying, “Sorry, I can’t help you with that, but I can help you with something more eternal. Let me tell you about Jesus Christ.”