I look at the state of the Church in the United States today and I see many things, some good and some bad. I’m encouraged by the passion of our church’s leaders today and the ability to mass communicate with each other and to the world. It pushes me towards good deeds when I read the blogs and posts from other men and woman around the country. I am stretched and taken outside my comfort zone when I’m able to converse with those who don’t share my personal take on theology and look at Scripture slightly different. I am a better person and pastor for having had these experiences.
But something I see deeply troubles my soul. It’s not new or unique to us or the Western church. But I do see it. The Church is dumb. I realize that this is a broad generalization, but just bear with me.
I see an entire generation of people walking away from the church. They look at the institution that is His Bride and realize that there is nothing there that the world isn’t giving them. They see no difference. They see families divorcing, sexual sin running rampant, moms and dads stressed to the breaking point, they hear sermons and lessons teaching them to behave, and they are walking away.
They see a church that no longer has any fear of its Creator. We’ve lost our awe and reverence and the world can tell.
I see it in the student who sits and listens year after year, and continues to drink and sleep around. I see it in the parent who bends over backwards for a RECREATIONAL sport but puts little importance on the coming together corporately to worship Christ. I see it in the family who can’t understand why their student doesn’t like coming to church even though there is no transformation in the life of the family.
How are we to tell people the good news, when on a large scale we can’t embody the good news?
In the book “UnChristian” a study was done with the help of Barna research. That study asked what were Christians known for. The answers were:
- · Against Gays
- · Judgmental
- · Hypocritical
OUCH! That has to hurt. At what point in our history did it become ok to be known as against? Wasn’t Jesus known for loving and reaching those on the margins? Didn’t He use words of forgiveness and inclusion when talking to those on the outside? Didn’t He call them to a better life after having shown them love? Didn’t he eat with tax collectors, prostitutes, and sinners? Didn’t he tell religious leaders that he came for the sick? So how is it that we have fallen so far from the mark that our reputation is more like Westboro Baptist and not that of Jesus Christ?
I believe it is because the church is dumb. There is an overall ignorance of Scripture that is crippling our influence in society and in the lives of our communities. Our people no longer read and meditate on God’s word. James 1 describes this as someone looking in a mirror and walking away, they immediately forget what they look like. That’s a ridiculous analogy. And I have to believe he made it ridiculous because in his mind it would be ridiculous for someone to say they are a follower and not read the Scriptures.
Over the next several weeks, we will be looking at how to reverse this trend in our lives and how to stop the mass exodus of mosaics and Gen Y from the church. Some of it will be difficult and require sacrifice. Some will be very hard for me because I’m guilty of it and I’m not looking forward to exposing my own shortcomings. But if we don’t ask the hard questions and really search for the answers, we risk becoming an afterthought in the collective mind of an entire generation.