Monday, August 2, 2010
When the Church sprang to life at Pentecost it was almost immediately perceived as a threat, marked by the enemies of Christ as extremely dangerous.
It was Christ’s intention that His Church be filled with His power to change the world and overcome obstacles and break down barriers and turn an upside down world right side up again. Jesus did not die for pews and programs and potluck. He gave Himself for a lost world and established and empowered the Church to get His Gospel lived out and delivered.
So if Christ called out this dangerous band of brothers and sisters to reach all neighborhoods and nations, to overcome evil with good, to share His love with all people, to go out and change the world – then why is the church as we know it so safe and civilized, so harmless and secure behind our big brick walls?
Christ died for a dangerous church. He did not sacrifice for a safe church.
What is a safe church?
A safe church caters to religious consumers rather than calling out committed followers of Christ.
A safe church preaches a gospel of personal fulfillment and success, rather than radical faithfulness and service to Christ.
A safe church holds up a standard of commitment and behavior that most members generally ignore. And, of course, people notice. Everyone sees it, the discrepancy between what the church professes and how its members actually live.
A safe church focuses on budgets and buildings and bigness, much like any business or organization.
A safe church avoids any ministry involvement that doesn’t pay off in a bigger church.
A safe church spends almost all of its time, money, and resources on itself.
A safe church is preoccupied with protocol, following the rules, and enforcing the policies.
A safe church thinks outreach means attracting more people just like themselves, usually from other churches.
A safe church builds walls that exclude other kinds of people, rather than bridges to reach them.
A safe church talks about reaching the world, but ignores the needs of its own neighborhood and community.
A safe church cares more about how many people come to church on Sunday than how many people in town do not have food or clothing or a home.
A safe church is disconnected from the real life needs, issues, and problems that people face every day. As a result, it doesn’t even show up on the radar of a lost world. There is a total disconnect. A safe church might as well be on another planet.
A safe church never attempts anything that would require the power or intervention of God.
A safe church is no threat to the powers and principalities, and no threat to the sick and sinful status quo of this lost world.
A safe church shows the world lots of religion, but not much Jesus.