A few evenings ago, I was doing something I enjoy a LOT. I was browsing through Pinterest. I pinned a couple of recipes, an activity or two for the grandkids, and some things to add to my ‘memories’ board. But then a plain black box with some white writing on it reached out and grabbed my attention and didn’t let go. It said: When a church changes its values to match current culture, they’re no longer following the Bible. They are following the lost.
“Yes, that!” I said to myself. Jesus didn’t try to fit in with the culture of his day. He didn’t try to act like one of the guys. He didn’t treat his ministry and message as a good idea or ‘extra-credit’ for what they were already doing. And he didn’t hesitate to tell the people (including the leaders of the church) how far off the mark they were. Instead, he brought the message of salvation unapologetically, while extending an invitation to be saved vs. irreversible condemnation.
No fancy rituals. No entertainment. No comfortable furniture or theater-like atmosphere. No gimmicks or quirky gifts. He didn’t try to lure them in with food (he fed the thousands AFTER he was done preaching). And he sure didn’t water down the truth by comparing it to movies, cartoon characters, and the likes.
Yes, I know Jesus told parables, but when Jesus told a parable, he was creatively attracting people to God and the Gospel message using situations the people could relate to—not cleverly and cunningly attracting people to himself in a celebrity kind of way.
Take a minute and let that sink in then think about this…
Churches who proudly proclaim that their number-one priority is to attract young families and professionals are the same churches who are also supposed to be shepherding, worshipping with, serving with, ministering to, and teaching the elderly people who have been there for decades, the people struggling with cancer, those who live in poverty, those who are widowed or divorced, the empty-nesters and newly retired folks trying to find their new niche in life, those who have rebellious teenagers or mentally challenged children, those who are socially awkward, children and teens who get dropped off at the door, grandparents raising their children’s children, and on and on I could go. But I hope you get the point.
Simply put, if a church feels they need to add to or take away from Jesus and his Gospel, they are following the lost, not the Bible. What’s more, no one—young professionals, senior citizens, teenagers…no one—really wants or needs coffee bars, a weekly performance on stage, or dim lighting. They don’t need photo-op stations, or a sermon peppered with fancy words or promises of health, wealth, and prosperity. No, these people need Jesus. That’s why they are there. They are either curious to know if Jesus might actually be the answer they are looking for, or they know he is, and they are there to be filled up with him. That’s all. Just Jesus because Jesus is all any of us need and more than any of us could ever hope for.
Be salt and light,