Church leaders around the country are wringing their hands, wondering why so few people are showing up for Sunday services. Magazine articles abound on the topic of how American Christian church attendance is declining, especially among young people.
The Americanized Christian church has found itself in the position of serving as a “feel good ATM machine.” Leadership holds meeting after meeting to determine what worship songs might stir the people, or what light show might bring them to their feet in a frenzy. Or perhaps they entice them with a foaming latte and sweet roll from their in-house coffee shop. Maybe if their tummies are full and the music is loud and the room is filled with lights, smoke and mirrors, the people will stay long enough to drop an offering in the plate to help pay for the coffee, music, lights, smoke and mirrors before they dash out into the parking lot to get on with their busy lives.
Unfortunately, the spectator sport church does little more than provide a place for people to show up for the “perks” and to be entertained for an hour or two. After that, people leave with a “feel good deposit” that might last a day or perhaps if they are lucky, into mid-week.
My Godson uses a phrase to start a conversation on a serious topic. He begins his profound sharing with, “Here’s the REAL of it.” The “real of it,” is that church was never meant to be a spectator sport. Church was and IS for the purpose of honoring and glorifying God, allowing Holy Spirit to lead and direct what God is doing. It is meant to be a place where men and women gather, humble themselves before God and wait upon God to guide them in how “they” (the church…aka the people in the church) are being called to be the hands and feet of Christ today!
We are entering a time when the Kingdom of God will arrive in full measure. We will begin to see people who have God’s anointing actually “doing” the work of the church, using their spiritual gifts and serving as the hands and feet of Christ. They will actually “be” Christians for more than the purpose of a Sunday morning name tag, or a political lobby donation.
It is time for a change in the American church, a time for new ground. It is time to put the past (spectator sport church) behind us and actually “be” church. It’s time to wake up…time to raise the dead.
If you are not being equipped and used by God in your church to make a difference in the world, you may want to ask, “Am I here to be entertained, or am I here to BE church, to use my God-given gifts to bcome the hands and feet of Christ in our hurting world today?
Sound a little crazy? Not really. It’s a paradigm shift.
Again, here’s the real of it. Will you be a spectator or an active participant in bringing in the Kingdom? If you are a church leader, are you entertaining the people or equipping them?
Food for thought. Sorry, no latte served with this one.