Monday, June 16, 2008
I keep getting this image of church and the gospel being run through a Brita filter. Like we take out all the nasty tasting stuff until it tastes really good going down, making it easier to swallow.
I've been in a number of small churches around the country over my life and the ones that were dwindling in membership seemed to have one thing in common. They were too 'nice.' They didn't want to hold people accountable to the gospel, they didn't want to ask people to do hard things in the name of Jesus. They were incredibly apologetic. They were "sorry to ask," but could so-and-so do such-and-such for the church. We're always sorry as though church itself has become a burden to people. As though it's importance is less than that of family and work and hobbies. It makes me want to scream! In fact, I think I will...
STOP BEING SORRY!!!
Thanks for letting me get that out. On with the tirade...
Jesus was never sorry for telling people the hard truth. Why should we be? Why do we think we need to apologize for asking people to serve and to give? We had to pull teeth to find people to be on this year's officer slate. Why is service Christ and the church such a burden? Where are our priorities? And why am I the only one in my church asking these questions? Why aren't our leaders calling people to task? Some of my committee chairs have no committees because they are so worried that they will overburden someone or offend them somehow by asking them to take on something else, even in the name of Christ.
Are we Christians or what? If we can't even find time to serve, how can we claim that title? Sitting on our butts for an hour once a week is not all there is to being Christian. Yes, worship is a part of it, but so is service, so is study, so is making disciples. We can't choose one over the others.
If we filter what the gospel says, it's not the gospel anymore. Jesus comes not to bring peace, but the sword. That's hard to swallow. That doesn't taste good to our 21st century, status-quo tongues. Let's just drink our filtered water. We're sorry about that Jesus guy. He kind of embarrasses us middle-class, middle Americans. Jesus can be down right tacky at times. And we don't want our children to hang around tacky people, much less follow them around and emulate them, use them as role models. We're sorry Jesus asks you to give your money to the poor rather than spend it on a new fishing boat. We're sorry that the church needs your help and your time to serve Christ as we've been called to do. We're sorry, we're sorry, we're sorry.
I'm hoping I can encourage our church's leaders to call people to task. They need to get out there, hold members accountable. Don't be sorry for asking for help, or for making people uphold their baptismal vows, or for helping them to fulfill the Great Commission.
So I have officer training this weekend. Can you guess what we'll be talking about?