I love when we do a series on the Church! My passion in life is to see the Church be what God intended it to be, so when we start discussing things about the Church, I get all fired up as I think about the potential that is locked up in each local church to make a huge impact for the Kingdom where God has planted them. Every now and then someone will make the comment that we talk about the church a lot. My answer to them is, “Yes, and we do and we do not apologize for that.” Jesus loved the church and gave Himself for her. The Church is God’s plan for reaching people and introducing them to Jesus so they can experience life change. We NEED to talk about it often!
This last weekend at our church, we specifically talked about the health of a local church. I think for many years, people thought that if a church had a lot of ministries and kept people busy nearly every night of the week that the church was healthy. I believe the opposite is true. I know, some may stop reading this post right here. And that is ok, I used to think that being busy equated to being Spiritual. We have been so conditioned to see the church as what it has been, or as what we have made it that seeing it change has become something many have actually preached about. Many churches today are filled with leaders and church people that worship their methods rather than the God that they say they love and follow. We have made people so busy doing churchy things in our churches that there is little or no time left to actually be the Church to those in our community. We tell people we are to be salt and light and to reach others for Jesus, but there is little to no time to do that because we have ladies meeting Monday night; visitation on Tuesday night; of course we have to be a “Wednesday night Christian” (a guilt statement intended to get people to come to something that is dying); Thursday night is a small group or Children’s ministry; Friday night is a youth activity and then Saturday we are suppose to go to bed early so we can be rested up and ready to spend 8 hours at the church on the “Lord’s Day.” And then on Sunday a preacher will get up and say that we ought to be in church more “as the day approaches” (taken totally out of context). What is wrong with that picture?
Most churches are in a Christian bubble, and if you suggest ways to pop that bubble (or even say that it may exist) many will call you ungodly or worldly and maybe even question your commitment to God. I am not sure where we got this way of “doing church.” Jesus certainly did not stay in a bubble as He ministered to people. He rubbed shoulders with the most vile and wicked people of the day. He went out of His way (remember the woman at the well?) to reach people where they are at. He did not sit with His disciples and say, “Ok, we have my healing ministry in place, our feeding ministry in place and I have a handful of sermons that I have preached already that I can regurgitate, now they will come to us because we have everything in place.” It just does not work like that.
Where did we get this idea that “if we build it, they will come?” Where did we get the impression that secluding ourselves within the walls of the church was a Godly thing to do? What does that produce? Nothing! Well, actually, it produces inbreeding, where we just give birth to and raise others with the same mentality (we have seen that in denominations and “fellowships” too!).
I for one am sick of the typical “if we build it (or have that ministry), they will come”thinking. Jesus did not pray that we would be taken out of the world, but that we would be protected in it. I think we would do good to remember that.
Am I making too much of this? Should we just program ourselves to death and keep people busy? Are the unchurched drawn to programs or relationships that are created before they ever step in the doors of our church? What do you think?