I’m tired of trying to make Christianity appealing to others. So much of church time is spent trying to make Jesus seem cool to the young people and trying to convince the old people to give money to the church so we can keep trying to make Jesus seem cool to the young people.
The Gospel is not cool. It’s offensive to many and foolish to more. I don’t want to spend my church time evangelizing people who are already there. They didn’t come at gunpoint. They want to be there and if they don’t, it’s not my job to try to make them stay.
The time for evangelism is not church. Church is a time to worship Jesus together, share God’s word together and pray for one another. Church is a time for discipleship, repentance and fellowship. If you’re coming for a show, you won’t find me putting one on. I’m there for one reason: drawing closer to Jesus with the bride of Christ.
See I know how it feels. The times in my life when I have rested completely in Jesus, the times when I have accepted totally His love for me, I have felt freedom like I have never felt any other way. I’ve felt incomprehensible joy, cathartic grief, rest, freedom, peace, love. It’s a feeling that rivals no other that I know of. It can be utterly debilitating, it can just lay you flat out. But it can be so uplifting too, practically giving you wings, you feel you could just take off and fly around the room.
This feeling is truly indescribable as the song says. And if you’ve ever truly experienced this you can’t help but want others to know it for themselves. The question then becomes: how? How can we help others to know the love of God? If we could only get them in just the right situation, to hear the right sermon, worship service, concert, whatever… if we could only get them there… if they would only read the right book, the right verse, hear the right song, attend the right conference, the right summer camp, the right YOUTUBE VIDEO, THE RIGHT TRACT, THE RIGHT VIDEO SERIES, BIBLE STUDY, V.B.S., SUNDAY SCHOOL!!!
IF WE COULD ONLY GET THEM IN THE RIGHT SITUATION…
THEY WOULD FEEL IT! THEY’D RECEIVE THAT REVELATION!! FINALLY!!! THEY’D GET IT! THEY’D UNDERSTAND! THEN THEY WOULD LOVE JESUS. Then.
This is what we think.
This is how it feels.
I know because I’ve felt that way so many times. I felt that way 5 minutes ago.
We desire for others to love Jesus and to know His love and so we begin scheming and planning and orchestrating and designing and rehearsing. Our church services become elaborate performances. Discipleship is relegated to “Life Groups” where we decide to do a video series because we’ve lost the ability to sit together and teach one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. We attend bible studies because we want to know Jesus more but we come away filled with a lot of head knowledge of scripture and very little heart knowledge of our Savior. We’ve lost the ability to meditate on His word because we gorge ourselves on studies like a hot pan of hunan chicken that was just set out at the Chinese buffet.
Our church services are the way they are because we want to entice people to keep coming back. We give them a show and good music hoping that eventually they’ll love Jesus enough to come back of their own volition. But there’s always the fear that it’ll get too boring and they’ll stop coming or worse, go to that other church down the street with the $10,000 sound system and huge kids’ ministry.
Our church services are the way they are because we are always a hair’s breadth away from pissing off Joe Dollarsign who sits in the back row with his arms folded across his chest, complaining that the music is too loud and the worship leader is a dang hippy. And as long as that old fart is still kicking, his tithe check will pay the electric bill this month.
Our church services are the way they are because we are terrified of silence because if we just got quiet for a second, God might do something weird that would scare off the McPretty family and piss off Joe Dollarsign.
I honestly can’t say that I have any idea what church would look like if we had absolutely NO PLAN except to sit together and see what God wanted to do. I know it would be hard, weird, awkward and strange. But if we did it enough something wonderful would take shape.
Remember the first time you rode a bicycle or baked a cake or did anything unfamiliar to you. You know it was ugly. But if you kept at it and practiced you probably got pretty good or at least you stopped looking like an idiot.
IF WE STOPPED THE SHENANIGANS AND TRIED JUST WAITING ON JESUS…
It would be ugly at first. It would probably be hideous. Haha. But the more we did it, the awesomer, easier and more beautiful it would become.
BESIDES… DO WE FREAKIN’ TRUST JESUS OR NOT???
Can’t we just put our faith in Him? Why do we have to control it all?
It’s a good thing the evangelicals didn’t plan the crucifixion. I can’t imagine what a freakin’ nightmare of smoke machines, lights, glitter and sound FX that would have been. Imagine Jesus in a sequined red, satin loin cloth. Frightening.
Can we de-glitter Jesus, please?
The purpose of a church service is not primarily to preach the gospel and win souls for Jesus. If that happens during a church service, then praise the Lord and hallelujah. That’s awesome and I love it. But Jesus sent us out into the world to do that. Out in the world in our everyday lives is where we are meant to evangelize.
The purpose of a church service is to edify the body, encourage each other, to teach one another, pray for one another, strengthen one another, to become one as Jesus and the Father are one. It is not a recruitment rally or a freakin’ Tony Robbins event. I don’t need a life coach or to be entertained. I own a television and a comfortable sofa, thank you.
Working so hard to keep people interested and engaged and hoping that all my hard work will one day pay off and lead to a true follower of Jesus is kind of exhausting. And I’m exhausted. I kinda just wanna rest in Jesus, yo. I just wanna rest in Him, feel His love and give Him mine. That’s all I want.
I think I’ve said my piece. I think I’m done ranting for now. I’m not done meditating on this concept but I’m done talking about it at this moment. Peace out.