“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”
We have all probably heard of this definition of insanity. It makes perfect sense. Do you think it applies to “The Church”?
Now, before we can have this discussion or even read something concerning this subject, we have to do something that we don’t like to do and aren’t very good at doing. We have to leave “emotion” out of it and try to look at it objectively.
That’s one of the reasons we can’t have a productive discussion on racism in this county, we get emotional. The same holds true for the “true religion” of this state: college football. That’s a subject for another day but we can be the same way about church, especially our church.
Included in this blog is a link to a video by Francis Chan. If you aren’t familiar with Francis Chan, take some time to look at some of his sermons on YouTube. It would be well worth your time but be cautious, you may be convicted. And please, leave emotion out of what you hear and read today. If you watch this video, he poses this question: “How do we read this book (the Bible) and get to where we are as a church today?”
For as long as I can remember church has been, for the most part, the same. Yes, over time we have incorporated new worship music, we don’t sing the Doxology every Sunday, we have relaxed how we dress, and we use visuals and have made other changes over time. But it’s practically the same. We still have the same order of worship, Sunday School is still Sunday School and Wednesday night is still there. Except for modernization, you could take a service from twenty years ago and it looks almost identical to today. So will church look the same way twenty years from now? If so, have we missed the point? Are we insane?
We are creatures of habit and comfort. I saw a meme recently that really should cause us to think. Here it is:
The poor will always be with us. Jesus said so. But are we doing as much as we should or are capable of doing? Are building bigger buildings and adding more expenses the best way to grow the church? If that is how the atheist perceive us, how do we overcome the perception? Do we need to?
One of the things Francis Chan said that stuck with me was that we treat church like the movies when we should treat it like a gym. We are entertainment and program driven and complain when the worship service isn’t quite like what we want it to be. Or the sermon didn’t really speak to me. Or the music wasn’t really what I like. Or it was too hot or too cold today. How did we get from what is written in the Bible to where we are today?
In the video, there were four things from scripture that described the church: it was full of love, for Jesus and for each other, a loving family; they felt a sense of urgency to get the message of Jesus out to people; when they gathered they focused on Jesus, prayed for each other, fellowshipped and were eager to learn the Word of God; and they were equipping others to work and serve. There is no biblical basis for being a part of a church to be entertained, to go where you like the music, to go where they have programs that you enjoy or to seek anything close to the attitude of “Us four and no more.”
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2: 9 (NIV).
A church with a spirit of “exclusiveness” is not a church based on Jesus. Have we in some way developed that attitude? We may have some outreach programs but it seems to be centered on you have to come here instead of us going there. Have we become more of a social club than a group of believers purposed to get the message of Jesus out? Are we more institution than organism?
I’m not advocating that we tear down the church but we have to make some changes or our grandchildren will be doing the same thing our grandparents did. Are we willing to trust God and go someplace else for church if He leads us? Or are we happy right where we are? Is it more important to go to the church your family has always gone to or to be in the place where God wants you to be? When we go to church, do we expect to be served or to serve?
We live in a world where we can have almost everything come to us: food, clothes, entertainment, some work from home, etc. So why are we expecting that world to get up out of their comfort and come to us? Have we created a big bowl of spaghetti when God wanted us to create a big steak? What are the eternal consequences if we are wrong?
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 (NIV).
I realize that some of these thoughts are radical. To the point that some would call me a witch and burn me at the stake. But God has put these thoughts not only on me but on others as well. What do we do with these thoughts? First, we should pray. But then we must do something, especially if God leads us to do something.
Jesus said that the road to life is narrow and small and that only a few will find it. Is that because there were only a few who would go out and tell them about Jesus?
Run to the Cross!