The church is dead. Yup. People you have officially gotten the news, the church is gone; the church of today has run its course.
Have I gotten your attention yet? Well, good! I honestly think that the majority of the people of the United States of America sees the church as being dead.
If you look into an average Sunday morning service, especially in the Bible Belt, you will find melancholy Christianity at best. Our people have become so accustomed to padded pews, heating and air conditioning, “feed my spirit, pastor,” and pretty music that our focus is no longer on Jesus and seeing lost souls saved.
Where did we go wrong?
I’m not sure of the exact time or place, but it all started to go wrong when we forgot that we should be more comfortable on our knees before the Lord than sitting on a church pew. I think somewhere in the transferring of wisdom from one generation to the next and so forth that we have forsaken the sanctity of a prayer closet and are entirely content with the “now I lay me down to sleep” kind of prayer.
If we were completely honest with ourselves, we would say that the moments where the church decided to blend in with the world “just a little more” have cost us something more significant than we ever really wanted to sacrifice. I’m not saying we should forego every ounce of media and any instruments on our platforms, but what I am saying is that we shouldn’t let that be our focus. The moment we are more concerned with the background imagery for the sermon rather than the gospel of Christ being shared is the moment our spirit should do a double take.
The church is dead because there isn’t any new life being brought into the church house. Why? The church is dead because it has forgotten what it means to be Christ’s hand extended. It isn’t about handing food out at Thanksgiving. That is something commonplace, expected even. Being Christ’s hand extended is about doing the things no one else knows about, doing things, not because of selfish desires for worldly accolades, but because it is what Jesus would do.
It went wrong when we decided that the church was a padded pew kind of country club for the sanctified and left the “town bum” out on the street, the very one that needs Jesus. It all went wrong when the church forgot that Jesus sat with “the least of these” and not with the Pharisees.
When did it go wrong? Are you still asking?
The church went wrong when we became more concerned about reading our Bible out of duty and regulation, following decade old traditions, became more concerned about what version of the Bible sister so and so uses, found more reasons to ridicule our fellow brothers and sisters of the faith. The church was meant to be, at its emergence, a community of radical believers denying the very thing we have gotten stuck in today, a rut of tradition and regulations. Yes, tradition is great, but tradition and regulation are what kept Jesus from eating with the Pharisees. Tradition makes the heart grow cold to the things of God.
Every nation that I can think of with people coming to know Jesus as Savior in groves has a community of Christians living in boldness, completely denying any form of contact with family, defying tradition, forgoing self-righteous preconceptions, all while placing their own life on the altar for the cause of Christ. A nation with a foundation firmly planted on Christ crumbles as the church takes a back seat and silences themselves all for comfort.
Wake up church of America! Rise you dry bones. Your work is not finished. Reach your community. Reach your family. Each one reach one.