That is true for churches, too. Churches should be clean and free of clutter. We don't need last week's bulletins scattered everywhere, or every flat surface piled with flyers and postcards about upcoming events. We don't need Bibles and study guides in stacks on ledges, tables, and chairs in classrooms. I've seen rooms with tables and chairs tossed around as if no one cared about the room and what it looked like. I've seen members walk right past trash on the floor; actually, they looked at it and probably thought that was someone else's responsibility to clean up. I could go on and on, but you've likely seen the same thing in your own church or in one you've visited.
Bottom line: if a place of business were as sloppy and messy as many churches are, you wouldn't give them your business. Why then are churches so sloppy?
- Is it that no one really sees it? Yes, there are some people who see messes and some who just don't. I'm one of the first group. I see messes, and they bother me a lot. Here's a way to know what group you're in: look in your car. If you have empty drink cups, wrappers, and other trash on the seat or floor, you're in the group that can't see messes. If that's the case, you ought to find someone with a really clean car and get them to point out to you the messes in your church. They'll show you what you "can't see."
- People think someone else is responsible for that. Some members actually believe that they pay staff to do those menial chores and that they should not have to stoop to pick up trash or straighten bookshelves or ask why there are old books and Sunday School quarterlies which make the church look bad. Keeping the church clean and straight should be everyone's responsibility; not just the custodian's job.
- Do some people not even care? Unfortunately, yes. It's not a large number of people, but some just don't really care or appreciate how a church looks. That kind of problem requires a bigger solution than just becoming aware of how sloppy the church looks; those folks need to experience a change of heart so they'll value their church and its property.