Since recently switching to the ‘dark side’ and using an iPhone instead of my Galaxy I have become a podcast junkie. Time spent in the car by myself is now spent listening to sermons, sports casts, and running podcasts.
One of my favorite sermon podcasts comes from Passion City Church just outside of Atlanta. Louie Giglio is an amazing speaker, and his guest speakers are equally enjoyable to listen to. Check it out!
I was listening to the sermon from November 29 entitled, ‘4 Steps of an Unstoppable Believer.’ The speaker was Gregg Matte from Houston, TX. In his message he made a statement that struck me. He said, ‘We have become so familiar with church that we would rather critique it than be changed by Jesus as He works through the church.’
At first I thought, ‘no way.’ Then I continued to think about it as I went on my morning run. Every day my social media feed is cluttered with articles talking about what’s wrong with the church. Topics in these articles run the gamut of talking about ‘the evils of modern worship music,’ ‘hypocrisy in the pulpit,’ and even ‘the irrelevance of the gospel in a post-modern society.’
Don’t get me wrong, there are several things in the church (specifically the American church) that trouble me. However, I also wonder if our ability to reach the un-churched is deeply hindered because we have spent so much time tearing down each other right in front of their eyes.
So why have we become so quick to critique the church in such an open and public forum? First of all, social media has given everyone with access to the internet a voice to air their grievances. The irony is not lost on me that as I write this, I am one of those voices. Secondly, rather than be a part of the change, it’s easier to criticize the change you don’t like or point out the change that needs to happen as you take your church attendance to the next church in town. Lastly, we have turned church into a consumer product.
Familiarity with what church is ‘supposed’ to look like has turned church goers into expert critics. We often leave church looking more like Siskel and Ebert than followers of Christ. This consumer driven, critique dishing mentality has made it much easier for us as Christians to become church hoppers.
Andy Stanley talks about the vision that he started North Point Church under. They wanted to create a church that would be unfamiliar to lifelong church goers. Why? They wanted something that could reach the lost of Atlanta and not steal members from other congregations. Guess what? It worked!
So where am I going with all of this? If you are a Christian attending a church and you see things happening that you don’t understand, take the time to talk to leadership about it privately before you run to your keyboard and start typing. These conversations may clue you in to an elelment of the church’s vision that you didn’t know about.
I can tell you this. There is a trend that is slowly picking up steam for the church to be more intentional about returning to the Acts model of how to do church. This will not be familiar to many of you as it happens. Again, talk to church leadership and hear their heart before you run to your keyboard or your phone to tear down.
Don’t let being comfortable with the familiar keep you from experiencing a new depth in your relationship with God.
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