I have become convinced that we have focused on the wrong thing too much today in the Christian faith. We have put so much effort into the things that we DO and not enough focus on NOT doing. Stay with me here, I’m not talking about a list of things not to do. I’m talking about not working so hard to justify ourselves. I am talking about surrender and I think that is one of our biggest struggles. Our flesh seems to be alive and well and we haven’t put our flesh to death. We have instead found more acceptable ways of gratifying our pride and ego. We have Pharisee religiousness and it feeds our pride. We work harder and claim its for God, but we have taken all the credit and we feed our flesh.
What do we celebrate in this day and age? What is a “great church”? It has a name now, we call it “mega”. Unless you have a mega-church, don’t expect to be heard or valued. I am being a little over dramatic, but I feel like we push so hard for the big business, franchise and expand mentality. We want our churches to hit four digits in our attendance, multiple services and multi-campus models. These things are fine until they become the goal, the idol and the object of worship. These things become the new idols that we justify. One of the excuses the Pharisees had for killing Jesus was protection of the Temple. Rome was gonna tear it down if the Jews rebelled. The religious leaders justified their action in the name of protecting the faith. We strive with the same justification, to save and build the church. We forgot that Jesus said He would build the church, but that doesn’t matter. It depends on us, and we have to work harder.
I see the issue as this, we are prideful yet we don’t flee from the temptation. We run into this sin, arms open and justify every step. It’s pride and we begin to devour people. When things threaten our success, we get angry and we cause divisions and hatred. We quote the verses about Jesus cleansing the temple, but we forget the anger of man does not bring about the righteous of God. Our anger comes from the zeal for success, and our pride doesn’t allow for that. We begin to see brothers and sisters as the enemy if the no longer agree with us. If they are in the other “camp” they become a threat. We label and slander and back bite to protect our success and pride and status. I make divisions and focus on those things which divide and stop trying to even come to an understanding.
Have we abandoned the truth of the Scripture for Americanism and American idealism. We want bigger, franchised, marketed and patented. I am not saying having a large church is bad. I’m saying having the goal of a large church is bad. To have the idea of having “success” that is based on what we see in American culture and no on scripture brings us churches that do no ministry, don’t share the gospel and don’t teach scripture, but have a lot of people. It’s become a heart breaking situation in American Christianity. We are not winning this battle, maybe it’s time to change tactics.
We need a model of a small, reproducible, cost effective church that can rapidly move. I’m not the only one saying this, it’s not a new concept, we have been saying this for years. I believe it’s not working because we let our ego get in the way, we let pride creep in and American consumerism begins to tempt us away. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think we get too excited about being on stage and holding the attention of a large crowd that we can’t let it go.
As always, I need to define “we”. If you don’t think you are part of “we” then you are not. When I say “we” I am talking about me and those who struggle in these things with me. If you feel this, if you see this, if you feel like maybe there is something wrong, but you are stuck in the problem, you are “we”. If you think I am totally off base, you think I am wrong and rambling, then you are not with me, and clearly not “we”, so don’t get offended, I’m not including you.