Ideas always have consequences.
Bad ideas always have negative consequence.
The bad idea I have in mind this morning is the thought that it is up to us to reinvent the church to make it more relevant to current cutlure.
I am reminded of a paragraph I read a while ago by Os Guinness:
But where in all this movement is the prayer to match the punditry? Is the church ours to reinvent, or is it God’s? Does the head of the church have anything to say, or do the consultants have the last word? Shouldn’t ‘doing church’ follow from what we believe is the church’s being? Was the church first invented by a previous generation, so that it is our job to do it again, or is the church’s real need for the revival and reformation that can only come from God?Os Guinness in Prophetic Untimeliness
The root of many church problems is that leaders feel that it is their responsibility to build the church. Christ himself told us that it is His responsibility and His alone. We are not in the driver’s seat. In Matthew 16:18, Jesus plainly told us, “I will build my church.”
We are called to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the purpose of making disciples of Jesus Christ. Jesus put it succinctly in the Great Commission:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”Matthew 28:18–20a, ESV
We are not called to tweak the gospel to make it align with current social justice theory. We are not called to downplay the message that we are sinful and in need of a savior. We are not called to adjust our message to make it more palatable to our generation.
But too often leaders have redefined the success of the church in terms of budget numbers and attendance. When the focus is transferred to attendance or giving, there is a not-so-subtle pressure to change the message for fear of offending those who attend which would result in a reduction in giving. In response to this pressure, too often the church substitutes glitz for substance.
What prompted this post is the pain that has been caused by a church in my area that formerly was healthy but has fallen into this trap. Ongoing conversations have revealed that too many families (my own included) have been hurt because that church has ceased offering spiritual nourishment in an effort to conform to the ideas of current church growth “experts.”
It is my hope that in 2021, we will see a renewed desire in believers for being taught the full counsel of God in the Scriptures and that we will have a reduced tolerance for churches that focus on numbers rather than on true spiritual growth.
We need to put away the spiritual Twinkies and hunger after a healthy spiritual diet.
Maybe we should pass on the large auditorium and open our Bibles in our living rooms instead.
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