I remember when I read the book Radical and I blogged about being careful who you hang around with. As I looked it up, it was one year ago today! You can read that post here. I’m reading another radical book – this one called ReJesus: A Wild Messiah for a Missional Church. In it, Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch explain some of the issues facing the church today, how they came about, and how we need to re-focus on Jesus and His mission. Or as they call it, we need to ReJesus.
For 2,000 years, the problem has been and continues to be the same. To maintain a movement, Christianity has to have stability and order – some form of organization, or you just have chaos. But then as it’s organized, (with the best intentions) Christianity morphs into organized religion and organized religion gets a stranglehold on Christianity until the mission of Jesus is wrung out of it and all you’re left with is a shell of Christianity that does the initial movement of Jesus a disservice. The people in the church start to care more about the people in the church and protecting the gains they’ve made and the material things they’ve accumulated than the lost and hell bound people in the world that Jesus set up the church to save! Folks – this is the crux of the problem of Christianity in America.
This is exactly why after 16 years, Pastor Francis Chan walked away from the church he started in 1994. Over several years the church grew from 100 to 1,000 to several thousand until it quit being the church that it started out being – and Francis Chan left the church he started to start a new mission is San Francisco. He was ReJesus-ing. He was going back to the beginning to be a church that cares as much about the lost in the world as they do the ‘found’ in the church. The irony is the church itself gets lost when they no longer see their main purpose as reaching the lost in the world!
I hope you see the issue the church faces. Well intentioned people of God get a death grip on the church until they wring the Life out of it. So what are we who want to help the hopeless find hope through a relationship with Jesus to do? Do we just bite our tongues so we have a peaceful church? Do we leave and start another church? Do we stay and fight the status quo? Here’s where I believe we start: I’m praying that a great many people who are already in your church and my church would fall back in love with Jesus. And the Holy Spirit would move. And we would be willing to be risk-takers and hand control of the church back over to Jesus. And I believe if they and we have the faith to do that, He will empower us to be the church He intends – at least for a while until we mess it up again. 😉
A couple of notes:
For those hungry for some softer and cuddlier thoughts, may I recommend this blog.
For those who are offended by today’s blog, that might be some kind of sign.