This past Sunday I shared that the church can be like a school, a hospital, a store, a country club, and a family (from a book entitled “Why Church!”).   To me one of the most compelling of the comparisons is how a church can be like a store.  When we search for a church, we church shop – we have our list of criteria – what best fits my needs – my family’s needs?  It’s a consumer mentality – it’s not necessarily wrong, but I’ve always felt it’s not the best question.  A better question is: what does this church need that I have – what abilities, talents, and ideas do I have that this church can use – how can I connect to this church through service – through what I can share?  As I discussed in my message, we’re called not to be consumers, but owners when it comes to God’s mission and God’s vehicle for His mission – the church.  Owners have a totally different perspective than a consumer – they have a deeper commitment and desire – they want to see what they own, what they have a stake in, to succeed and prosper.  They’ll do whatever it takes to help the church fulfill its mission.  Over my years in ministry the people who get the most out of church and grow the most in their faith are those who take ownership – who dive in and get involved.  A key principle in life: the more you give yourself to something, the more you get out of it.  I’m often saddened by people who never make any attempt to connect to a church, to get involved, to serve, and then walk away unsatisfied and blaming.  That’s what happens to consumers – be an owner – that’s what God would want – and that’s the basis for true connection!