Sure, there are exceptions. But overall, The Church we're so familiar with - the attractional model - whereby we spend perhaps $2 Million on a building that attracts maybe 200 people but rarely duplicates itself to 400, 800, etc. - from a marketing standpoint, will only attract a portion of a community's population.
Frankly, statistically, we're getting dangerously close to running out of potential patrons. What is often referred to as "church growth" is most often little more than transfer growth. As fishers of men, it's easier to catch 'em than clean 'em. The flesh seems to always seek its own comfort.
God wants us out of that comfort zone. I've heard it said, "God and Satan have one thing in common: they're BOTH trying to kill us." It's true, the only good Christian is the dead Christian; “dead to sin, alive to God through Jesus Christ."
The Church is going to have to start acting like the model Jesus exemplified for us and start GOING to where the people spend all their time. It's been referred to as Kingdom mobilization. Too many of us are passive, unengaged spectators. We may immerse ourselves into all kinds of good Christian stuff, but we're not communing with God directly as individuals. Are we praying to Him (two-way conversation we call "prayer")? Are we studying His Word (looking for revelation and inspiration, or merely parroting what we hear from "professional" ministers)? Too often, we're motivated by a subconscious "what's in it for me" agenda.
In general, our witnesses is pathetic and we have become, more or less, irrelevant to society. So, we settle into the comfortable belief that anything spiritual that must take place in people's lives will occur during church services and only by those who are paid to do all the church stuff. All they have to do is go to a church building just as they would drive-in to any fast-food restaurant if they were hungry, right?
Wrong. We need to learn to hear from God directly and obey Him. After all, His sheep will know His voice.
I fear that one of the greatest problems we have in The Church is that so many who call themselves Believers in Jesus are merely Acknowledgers of Him. Doesn't Scripture say that even demons believe, and they tremble?
We don't even do that!
Can you tell when you've met a person who has had an encounter with Christ? They're changed, just as one would be changed who had just had an encounter with a beer truck. Like any other relationship worth having, we must pursue the other person relentlessly, out of desperation, as though our life would simply be incomplete - not worth living - without that individual; Jesus, in this case.
Sadly, too many Western Christians have embraced the status quo; settled for Church-As-Usual. We've embraced religious routine over vibrant relationship with the Creator of all things. We've strayed so far from anything that remotely resembles New Testament Christianity and have started comparing ourselves with ourselves, thereby, lowering our standard immensely.
It's been said that we've become the #1 cause of atheism because we aren't making anybody jealous for what we've supposedly found in Jesus. We are STILL a mighty army on bivouac, awaiting marching orders that have already come: "Go yo into all the world and MAKE DISCIPLES."
How's that coming?
Healing, casting out demons, all the manifested Gifts of the Holy Spirit...these things are only difficult when we think we have anything to do with making them happen. No, all we must be is willing and obedient. Sadly, too many of us are fearful...afraid of being laughed at, ridiculed, scorned, rejected, disfellowshipped or fired.
"God hasn't given us a Spirit of Fear but of Power, Love and a Sound Mind." Jesus said He would never leave or forsake you. Dive in!
What was that about a Sound Mind? Yes, that's where the battle begins and ends with most of us - our own Golgotha, the place of our skull where so many thoughts that have formed us must simply die a gruesome death.
"Resist the devil and he WILL flee," but NOT until he see that we are serious about winning.
Today, multitudes of Christians will encounter people who are hurting, depressed, confused, betrayed, scared and afraid. They'll stand inches from us, in need of a helping hand, but most of us won't lift a finger to help them.
Are you available? If not, Jesus is being ignored by our willingness to do nothing. Whatever we do to them, we've done it to Him, right?
If you are in need of encouragement, training, prayer, Biblical counsel - or have run across someone who DOES - I am available. In fact, our ministry, The Church @ Work (TCAW) is currently endorsing others across the nation who are making themselves available as well.
Michael, Oh so true! Just alot of people sitting in the pews, hearing another message about what Jesus did, but yet few are willing to give their life to Him! I look at Jesus's ministry and Pauls, for example, and the church I see today, is a far cry from this! Why? You are writing about your flock that attends your church, and yet, they sound just like wordlings! Not filled with the Spirit, not doing what God created them to do, not salt nor light to their world. Why, I ask again? Something is terribly wrong and we all know, judgement begins at the House of God! I am to be a member of His body, can you tell me where I can find the Head? The body fuctioning in one accord with the Head? I read in the word, Unless you do the will of the Father, you can not enter Heaven! Do the sheep of your pasture know this? I have been in and out of churches all my life, but I was never told this. We are to accept Jesus as Our LORD and Saviour, die to self, become as little children, and do the will of the Father! Is your church doing this? At the heart of your story I believe, it all comes back to, who or what will be the Lord of our lives. Father I ask in Jesus name, that YOUR CHURCH, will be about doing YOUR WILL, by YOUR POWER! Amen
Absolutely brilliant, Michael - and straight from the Holy Spirit in my view. One wonders what will happen to today's faint-hearted believers (thank God for any exceptions) when the New World Order arrives - and it is not far away.