I’m a bit of a radical. You probably know that by now. I think differently than a lot of people. It’s just the way my brain works. Radicals can be good as long as they are controlled by Jesus. If not, you end up with little Hitlers. (Let’s just pause and pray now I don’t ever go that direction!) Radicals can be good for a few things. For one, we can shake up the current way of thinking and help produce new patterns of behavior. This is good because people like to settle into ruts. We get comfortable. Get comfortable in your exercise routine and you get flabby. Get comfortable in your family life and you pay less attention to your family and more to your personal wants and needs. A rut at work, for many of you, means severe danger, if not death! So why would we ever think comfortableness in the church is a good thing?
I’m not talking about comfort. Comfort comes directly from God in the form and ministry of the Holy Spirit. He is our Comforter. I’m talking about getting in a rut and not realizing it. I’m talking about a dangerous kind of comfort that borders on laziness.
Enter the radical…I’m proposing a Revolution! That outta shake it up a bit! I’m proposing we engage the creature comforts we have allowed to sneak up on our churches and our lives and take them out with a vengeance!
Suggestion #1: War against the idea that says prayer is just something that people who feel comfortable (there’s that word again) speaking in public get to do. OR, prayer is something we offer to those who are sick and hurting. OR, prayer is what we do when we exhaust all other means of affecting change or renewal. C’mon, church! We should be cultivating an attitude and action of prayer that permeates every facet of our life and ministry. We should do more than talk about revival and times in our past when we think things were good. We should constantly be praying for renewal! We should have entire services—often—that are devoted entirely to prayer. We should have groups popping up all over the place that are praying for more than just the sick. (There’s nothing wrong with praying for the sick. The Bible commands it. But the nature of the radical is to come against things that need change, not war against the status quo for the sake of change itself…i.e. we already pray for the sick.) It will take a Revolution to regain a position of honor for prayer in our churches. Is it any wonder our churches are struggling? Can you guess why we aren’t impacting our world in a major way? We aren’t praying.
Suggestion Numero Dos: War against the idea that church is a building and/or a meeting that happens a few days a week. While the Gathering of believers is vital, the church is mobile. Best case scenario: our services are geared to encourage believers to get off their toushes and re-engage our world in a Christ-like manner. The service was never meant to be the primary means of reaching our world. The preacher was never intended to be the primary evangelist. Services and staff exist to help the rest of the Body BE ON MISSION! While some of us may have the gift of evangelism, that is not our primary job. Our job is to wake up the evangelist and the servants and the teachers and preachers among us and set them to work. However, most days it seems like the opposite is happening in our churches. If we are ever going to make a real impact on our world, the church is going to have to wake up to the reality of an every day life in Christ. The idea of tithing our time has never been biblical, “I give 10% of my time to the Lord and I can do whatever I want with the rest!” No you can’t! Not if you want to follow Jesus. He’s not going to sit 6 days a week and wait for you to come back and take another step with Him. If you want to follow Jesus you’d better get your gear together. He’s on the move as we speak.
Suggestion “C”: War against the idea of missions being something a few in the church are called to and the rest of us support. I don’t think the Great Commission was intended for just the disciples. I believe when Jesus said “Go into all the world…” He was speaking to the church, present and future. This means we ALL have the responsibility of carrying His Gospel to the nations. That means HERE and ABROAD. Missions is not saying “God bless you” to the random guy at the gas station. As with the rest of the Christian life, missions is not easy. Nor is it something we can accomplish with little to no effort. We are not doing missions until we are speaking the Gospel to lost people. It’s just that simple. Giving out food, clothing distributions, and free car washes are great, especially if they are done in Jesus name. But they are not missions. No one is going to profess faith in Christ as the result of a free shirt. To quote the Apostle Paul, “How can they hear without someone preaching?” (Romans 10.14…all of Romans 10 for that matter!) We must war against the current ideas and practices of missions in the church!
If the church in America is ever going to see a hint of its former glory it is going to have to experience a Revolution. That Revolution is never going to come from the outside. It must be initiated and carried out from within. That said I realize some of the things I said will be offensive to you. That’s just the nature of change. That’s also the nature of the Gospel! It will always be a stumbling block to those who don’t believe! (1 Peter 2.7-8) Instead of fighting me, why don’t we decide to fight casual Christianity together? If we can lock arms I can promise the Enemy will hurt much more and the Kingdom of God will advance. Let’s get out of the pews and into the world! We are the Body! Let’s get moving!