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Delusional Church?

Today my local Barista (possessive vocabulary... why do we do that?) anyway... MY Barista and I were talking about her introducing me as "The Pastor" or "Reverend". We talked about how I hate the title b/c it comes with crazy connotations depending on One's past experience. I reminded her that I don't call her "The Barista". We joked a little more about that but moved on.

Later in the day I had a great conversation with a guy who's flipped the switch of church "off" in his life. He seems to be cool with the bible and the Christ of the bible but the church has screwed him over. When he made mistakes in the past the church was quick to pounce. He said pretty emphatically that he's done with the church. We talked more and I suggested that he treat his church experience like a crazy relative. You know you're related but you don't have to hang out except for the off chance of a family reunion. You just kinda accept family that you wouldn't enjoy hanging with. We all have that crazy relative (and they probably consider us crazy to be fair).

Ultimately though I've wondered to myself. Is the church just straight up Delusional?

I think the answer is yes. Most churches appear to be delusional.

On one hand we have the church mindset which we "young bucks" consider to be the traditional church. We're just as screwed up but I'll get to that in a second. The younger generation looks to the traditional church and their judgemental behavior and we say "You guys would be better if you accepted people like Jesus did and demonstrate love and compassion to those who are involved in sin. Don't make people get fixed before meeting Jesus!" Rightly so many churches fit the stereotypical traditional caricature. Rightly or wrongly a LOT of people in society have been hurt at their weakest moments because while they were open to God the church kicked them for not living up to their 'holy' expectations.

But then we must look at the modern church plants and "younger" churches. We're just as delusional albeit for different reasons. Many of the average sized (under 100 attendee) churches I've come across have a delusion as well. They're pretty accepting... they have found some sort of freedom in this new way of doing 'church' but they're delusional about two things.

First they are so centered inward on having found this cool Jesus that they turn Him into nothing more than a rallying cry for a social club. I mean we get a group of 70 people together and we've got just enough people to fill a small room so it "feels" like church... then we turn off the outreach arm. It is comfortable, we're all accepted and non-judgemental... and not too much is expected of us because after-all Jesus is inclusive. So we stop growing.

Secondly another issue comes up. We become pretty weak in doctrine. While I completely agree with the argument of making sure our churches are "DOING" the gospel... I am afraid many of our smaller churches (including ours) gets stuck in a rut of feeling good about "doing" the gospel but we don't know much about why we do it. The leaders do for sure... and the leaders have a pow-wow about how cool it is to see their members serving like Jesus and being compassionate. Prayer circles are formed and things seem to be lining up with scripture but again while we're patting ourselves on the back for having a church with the compassion of the girl scouts we still end up ignoring the world as people die and are seperated from Christ. After all there are a lot of compassion groups that meet physical needs and they feel tingly inside. The difference is supposed to be that as the church we want to see lives changed and not just changed based on what zip code the person can live in or if they have a roof... but changed because of the power of Jesus Christ in their lives.

We're delusional. We're missing the boat. Not everyone... but many.

This is why it's wise for those of us not hitting home runs to continue to be open to those who are. We must quit making excuses and start soaking up the passions of men like Driscoll, Noble, Grochell, Batterson, Furtick, Stanley, Young, Jakes, etc. These ministries have found some balance somewhere that the rest of us aren't hitting (at least maybe not yet).

This may end up being a challenge just to myself but I believe it's time we stop being delusional and realize that if we're not seeing people come to Christ on a regular basis and seeing our cities flipped upside down...it's not God's fault. It's not like He's sitting back on his blessed assurance. He's done all the work He needs to do until His return. I think he's looking for us to swallow our pride and admit where we're not seeing things clearly and get back on track.

I know our church is in need of a passionate desire to seriously reach the lost. We have a great vibe week to week but we're looking at the same faces and it's time we stop. While we absolutely must love those we see every week we need some leaders to get some righteous anger about not seeing people like my friend at the coffee shop coming to Christ on a regular basis. Let's not only be open to those who are far from God but lets be sure they hear the clear and concise message of Jesus Christ so we join as many people as possible in the glorious future known as eternal life in Christ.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Friday, October 26, 2007

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