In this post, we will be utilizing the imagination sector of your brains as we look at the Corporate mindset of today’s church, so flip the switch on for just a few minutes…thanks!
Imagine this, one Sunday morning you are heading to visit a church you’ve heard some amazing things about from friends at work and just around in general. As you pull up to the campus, you see an HD Marquee announcing two new worship experience times, immaculate landscaping, gorgeous aquatic features (fountains), and an incredible building complex. You’ve heard that the entire thing cost in the double digit millions to build, so half of what you came to see was just the structures themselves. As you walk inside, some guys pull open the doors for you and immediately you are greeted with some information requesting propaganda, and directed to turn it into the offering box as you get a chance. As you peruse the expansive lobby, you see a bookstore with some of the lead pastor’s books displayed. After you snoop around there a minute, you walk a little further down and come across the church coffee shop and decide to get a little perk before the service. As you head into the worship center, you see smoke and lights emanating from the stage area as the band takes the stage to perform a welcome song. Through the music time, the fog machines continue to run and the band disappears from the stage as the lead pastor enters. The teaching from the pastor is good, and the band re-enters the stage to some more fog and lights and you leave feeling a little unsatisfied, unchallenged, and unchanged. Why could this be? The church has all the elements that we think a church should have to provide an experience worthy of a life to be changed for God. What’s the problem here? The problem, in my personal observation and opinion, is that we have exchanged intimacy with Christ, humility in ministry, and the real need for evangelism with the need to entertain a generation. With the need for being “relevant” to the modern culture, comes the lack of humility in ministry and a loss of the need for evangelism. Some churches like to disguise the fancy stage and concert atmosphere as evangelism. I know it sounds an awful lot like I’m pointing my finger at certain churches within this post, but I know the church where I serve is missing on many aspects of effective ministry as well. Sometimes we let the fact that our churches are experiencing massive growth, which isn’t a bad thing, overshadow the fact that the Gospel and message of Christ isn’t being shared as it needs to be. Christ never put on a show as He was teaching, the closest thing to a show that He put on was the “Triumphal Entry,” and even that was more about the children praising God and His humble appearance as He arrived into town on a donkey.
Where does this leave the church? Are we so worried about being portrayed as “cool,” or “awesome,” or “off the hook” that we miss the fact that worship isn’t the band playing music, and everybody having a good ‘ol time at church? The time at church is for teaching, for fellowship, and for getting deeper into the Word with other believers. Worship isn’t just an “experience” as some churches have advertised, it is a lifestyle, an everyday ongoing occurrence of our lives to glorify God through our lives. I think the intentions of these churches that have the bands and stages and elaborate facilities may have started out in the right place. Francis Chan once said that (and this is a paraquote) if Jesus or Paul started a church in the town where he was, his church would probably be bigger than theirs. He says this not in a bragging way, but in a way to show that the truth of the Gospel is something that is hard to swallow sometimes, because it is always life-altering and convicting, and we don’t like that. To be honest, that is all there really is to that conversation. If Christ were here starting a church in America, would it be this magnificent building with a ton of all the newest stuff? I feel as though the money that would be used for those things, would be used to help others in the surrounding community. When we have these extravagant things, even if we do help those around us, we give off the impression that we are in fact worried about the aesthetics as opposed to the ministry of the Gospel. My encouragement to myself, as well as everyone, is to focus on sharing the Gospel no matter where you are, because a building is just a building that will decay and wither one day. Christ will not wither, He will not fall away, He is always there when you submit yourself to His will.
We cannot run a church as a business, because it is a ministry. There can be structure to the fellowship, but rigidity has a tendency to stifle effectiveness due to the lack of flexibility. On the other hand, if the church is run as though it is and entertainment group, the ministry is put aside then as well amongst the efforts of the church to fit in with the world around it. There is no perfect church, except the one which all believers and followers of Christ will attend on that Glorious Day, but there is a lot we can do to strive toward the church Christ intended us to be a part of.
This is has been a 3 part series that I’ve been pondering for a while, and I am pleased that many of you have read the posts and some have even followed them. Please let me know what you think, I am always open to discussion about anything I post. I will not disrespect you or your opinion(s), so don’t worry about all that, thanks for reading!
DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE CD GIVEAWAY CONTEST! RULES ARE STATED IN THE PRIOR POST, SO GET BUSY!