Lately I find myself stumbling over the same 2 or 3 questions all the time in regard to my ministry… the questions all revolve around the same concept… Is the state/direction of The Church today what Jesus had in mind when He established it? Is The Church really fulfilling His vision? … Anything I say right here will sound like criticism of any number of specific churches but I promise you it is not intended as such. This is really just about me and my own rasslins’ with God over what He wants to see. I have long desired to see The Church go back to simpler methods… All of the showmanship; the latest, greatest technologies; the multi-million dollar rooms; the message series with clever hooks; the $1,000 dollar suits on pastors with $100 haircuts; the high tech productions and programming – are they necessary to really get the attention of a lost world? That’s where it turns into the classic argument I know. That we need to do everything possible to get people in the seats so their souls belong to Jesus. I get it… But does it really have to be that? I mean just because Steven Spielberg needs $250 million dollars to produce a Hollywood Blockbuster to hold my attention – do I really have to try and compete with that for someone to give Jesus a chance? Maybe it sounds like sour grapes … Maybe you read it and think that my church probably just can’t afford all of those bells and whistles and so that’s why I am crying about it… Well it is true that we couldn’t afford the million dollar upgrade to our stage … But I promise you right now that even if we had it I wouldn’t spend it on the stage… And I am not criticizing technology like some amish farmer in northern Indiana. I have an iPhone and macbook and I love to play ps3 while I listen to my iPod … I am somewhat cool and hip as you kids say today… I’m just not sure it’s needed for us to be like the church described in Acts 2:42-47.
What if the Jesus people came to know was the Jesus that walked the Earth 2,000 years ago? What if it was the Jesus who loved to tell stories and spend time in people’s homes, breaking bread with the cheats, liars and thieves, drinking wine with the prostitutes, tax collectors and adulterers. What if they got to know the Jesus that was unashamedly about loving the unloved, admonishing the self righteous, and breaking rank with the establishment? I keep wondering if it isn’t time for a reset? I keep wondering if the decline in church attendance world wide isn’t because we aren’t effectively competing with the bigger, better entertainment and activities but that we shouldn’t be trying to compete with them at all. What if instead of becoming bigger churches we became more loving and authentic? Are families better served and better equipped to follow in the steps of Jesus because of the million dollar sound systems and HD screens in their church of 10,000+ people? Or are they better served by being shown model of authentically loving one another – building real relationships with some close friends that they walk with daily – meeting each others needs – searching out opportunities in their immediate community to have real impact and make a real difference right where they live – all so that people see the relevance of a relationship with Jesus Christ? Maybe I am just a naive simpleton with dreams and aspirations that are too small for the 21st century church. Or maybe the 21st century church is going to change and re-adapt to the 1st century church…. Maybe.