Or you could title this “What makes me sick.”
I drove by a rather large church building this week that was having it’s roof shingles redone. Now it’s fine that this church have its property maintained…maybe it got a new roof from a hail storm. Who knows? What I do know is that this church is dying. No amount of sprucing up is going to bring it back to life. That is, unless there is a concerted effort on the church to be the church. To be loving its neighbors as individuals.
We are a breaking point in the church in the United States.
There has been a seismic shift in what the church is and does. When so many of a previous generation believe that if you have the right program and if you have savvy marketing and if you have a really good music ministry, then people will come. Granted, having these things does attract people. But they do not a disciple of Jesus make. Rather, this exacerbates the consumeristic culture so indicative of our society. The church becomes a series of goods and services. What differentiates one church from another is wrapped in music genres and preaching styles and the cool or traditional outfits of the congregation.
All the while, the world merely needs faithful men and women to love them as them.
Church: Gone are the days of people coming to your free event. Gone are the days of people coming to your service because they ought to. They don’t need hip music or relevant sermon series or an authentic greeting team with magnets and other wares.
What our world needs now are disciples of Jesus who lay down their lives for others. Who act and talk and think differently. Not in the weird Christian way we’ve always done it–with our particular phrases or strained attempts to make every conversation an awkward Gospel conversation. Rather, we need disciples who think and talk and drip with the Gospel of grace. Giving with nothing in return. Loving with no strings attached. Struggling. Weeping. Laughing. Enjoying the gift that is life. Please be who God has made you to be rather than bending to fit into the constrained mold you are told to conform to–rather than into the glorious and quirky and beautiful person God has made you to be…with your own passions and loves and perspectives.
By all means, fix your building. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that a new paint job will remedy the crumbling buttress of faithful and mundane taking up crosses and following Jesus.