There has been a lot of concern over the church in America. A growing movement of deconstruction, leaving the faith and rejection of the basic Christian principles are on the rise. And there are many legitimate reasons for the demise of the church; tabloids will affirm that.
But it isn’t just fallen pastors and corrupt leaders that are taking down the church. It is a wavering of the gospel message. A shift in teaching. A doctrine that sways with the culture. People are being misled and misguided as many churches try desperately to remain relevant.
Of course, many of these churches are thriving. And that is no surprise. The Bible does tell us, “They will look for teachers who will tell them what they want to hear……” And, there it is. Pastors and teachers selling out. Forsaking the souls of the lost for an occupied pew and a quick buck.
But that is just one broken area. The American church is nothing like what we see over seas. We get to come and go when it’s convenient and if our schedules permit. No real commitment required. We have choices, denominations. We have celebrity pastors. By the way, that’s a big give me a break. But regardless, here in America, we can float in and out until our needs are met. Because after all, isn’t it about us?
Church hopping is big. We go from corner to corner in search of a better experience. The coffee bar, the light display. Electrifying worship. The sermons that give a little Jesus and a whole lotta grace. We like that. Repentance is offensive, so we stay as far away from that topic. Its sickening.
People want to hear how to live their best life. They want to know how to be more confident, and secure. It’s about self. Me, me, me. People want a motivational movement rather than the gospel truth which requires surrendering.
Just get them in the door. Entertain them. Dazzle them with relevance. Mesmerize them with relatability. This is what the people want! But it isn’t what saves.
The church shouldn’t exist to scratch the spiritual itch of people. But it certainly seems that way. We westerners are consumers. We’re good at it. And that has spilled over into the Sunday attitude. We’re all about consumption.
The American church has lost her way. We’ve exchanged truth for a lie. We’ve traded it for an experience of feels. We’ve become entertainers for the seeker. And when the entertainment is gone, the consumer moves on. Another soul lost.
Most American Christians have no idea what the ekklesia is, or how she should exist. We’ve lowered the bar, minimized expectation, and try to sell Jesus as if he’s some product to be sold. Shame on us.
Powerful Christian movements are happening all over the world, and it has nothing to do with pixie dust, light shows and program. Christianity will flourish when the cost of the commitment is clear. And it is a commitment. It requires your whole life. Not something the American minded wants to pursue.
Bonhoeffer once said that the call of Christ is to come and die. Probably not a great marketable sales pitch. And definitely not an attractive mission statement. But it is true. And it’s one the church needs to get back to proclaiming.
Hard to believe that Satan uses the church to accomplish his work. But then again, the church allows herself to be used. When will the madness stop?
On that day, nothing is going to matter. The giant church building. The endless programs. The countless activities. The petty arguments. None of it. What will matter is life that has surrendered ALL for the sake of the cross. Recklessly abandoned the Him who saves, even to death.
It’s time to take back the ekklesia. It’s time to stop being inward focused. It’s time to serve the body. It’s time to give. It’s time to prepare ourselves to be the bride of Christ. That is the real movement. That is the charge. That is the church.