Thursday, 12 October 2017

Dear Church We Don't Need More Gimmicks We Need More of Jesus

Dear Church,

You have done well for me as I grew up in the safety of your walls, teaching me, training me, and comforting me. But as I stand on the line between one generation and the next I am concerned. I see a younger generation whose hearts are growing cynical and who may walk away never understanding the beauty of what you offer. Here’s the thing: I see some validity in their cynicism simply because you are not the church I grew up in. In fact, I’m not sure that even YOU see the beauty in what or who you are suppose to be anymore either. You were once a place vibrant with the reverence of the Almighty God, but your reverence has diminished and has been replaced with fear and worldliness. You believe if you can just compete better with the world you will “win.” Your vision has become myopic and you have lost sight of the grand scale of what we are up against. This is a war, Church, not a competition. You are using worldly thoughts and actions in attempts to  persuade strangers to come through your door, but you have invited the enemy in with your tactics, and you are losing, not gaining, ground as a result. 

Have you forgotten? We do not belong to this world, nor are we to compete with it. You want a worship band that appeals to the masses, complete with fog machines and light shows. Oh, but they don’t want a rock concert -- they went to one the world offered them last week. You offer bookmarks and keychains to newcomers as if to say, “You are welcome here.” I assure you, what those newcomers really wanted someone to look them in the eyes and say: “Please come back next week, I’ll be here for you when you come.” And your outreach events? These are foreign to my younger years with you, Church. When I was younger, we invited our friends to hear a message that challenged the listener to rethink how they went about their week. God’s Word use to be enough. Now you have decided to “woo” your neighborhoods with bouncy castles and carnival rides. I fail to see how this helps those who come looking for a First Aid Tent because they need to heal wounded hearts trampled on by this world. Instead of you offer them more of what has already hurt them. 

Church, there is a generation rising up that cares very little about what your building looks like. They don’t need theatre seats. They don’t need stained glass. They don’t need espresso bars. The world already tried to persuade them with those. They long for more. They would be happy in a humble living room if the presence of the Spirit was so alive it was tangible. This a generation wanting more than anything to see authentic faith in action, walking among their communities as Christ did with the lost, the broken, and the disregarded. This is a generation who has little regard for walls and a steeple.

Listen, Church! It is our responsibility to be the Joshuas of our day, committed to raising a generation obedient in faith to our God. It is on our shoulders to equip them in battle. It is our job to breath oxygen onto their flickering sparks in hopes of igniting a forest of believers who will love like this world cannot offer. It will be by the WAY we love that we will surpass anything they have seen before. It will be in our willingness to lay down our own lives for others that the world will take note. But, before all this can happen we must put away the foolishness of competing with this world. Whatever you think you can offer through your worldly approaches, know that the world has already offered the best of it. We have hope though, because we have something the world does not. We have the hope, joy, and love of knowing our precious Saviour saved us from death. We have the Creator of this universe at the helm of our lives. We have the Holy Spirit to guide and equip us. Because of them, there is no competition. We won. Let’s live like it.


A New Generation

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post, Sarah! As a post-script to your comments, I would point your readers to David Platt's excellent book, "Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream" (ISBN 1601422210, Multnomah). May God open our eyes to what's happening in our North American churches! In the desperation that comes only when we actually agree with God's assessment of our spiritual condition and realize how utterly dead and lost we are without God's active work to redeem us and restore us, we need to cry out with all our hearts for the Holy Spirit to manifest His leadership, power, gifts, and fruit in our churches and our communities and our own individual lives. God's amazing love and care for us should be more than enough for us -- always! He is eager to glorify Himself in our lives and circumstances, if we would just get out of the way and let Him do it. -- Keith