Thursday, April 4, 2013

Tired of this

I am tired of the "radical Jesus" movement among Christian megachurch pastors today. You know the type I am talking about: the highly polished, cool, edgy youth pastory guy who gets teenagers and twenty-something Christians fired up with talks about being radical missionaries, until they reach a fever pitch which is both unsustainable and leads to no fruit.

Why? Because I'm tired of hearing a pastor who pulls down $300,000 a year as an author and speaker telling me that I'm not giving radically enough. I'm tired of a pastor who spends half the year on the road teaching leadership--instead of leading his flock--telling me how I need to love God's church. I'm tired of hearing people brag about the great impact 'seeker' megachurches are having on the unchurched and lost, only to find out they drop $125,000 per year on parking lot attendants (as one large, famous church does). I'm tired of people telling me to be "on mission" when they spend half their church's tithes and offerings on A/V equipment that would make a rock star jealous.

Do you want to know what radical Christian mission really looks like? Do you?

"The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." (Gal 5:22-23, The Voice)
Now that--that is radical mission. Show unconditional love to who don't deserve it--bullies and terrorists and criminals and bigots and cheaters. Live your life in joy rather than bitterness, regardless of your circumstances. Be a person who is at peace with their lives, rather than anxious about controlling the future. Live in patience, waiting quietly until God's plan unfolds, not forcing anything. Be kind to everyone--that person that others say, "Boy, what a nice guy!" Be good, trying to do good works that would make God proud. Be faithful, not giving in to doubts about God. Be a person known as gentle, rather than violent or aggressive. Master your emotions and passions, showing self-control and moderation in all things.

Can you be that person? Because that, my friends, is a mature Christian.

But megachurches and the seeker movement aren't aiming for this, are they? They are trying to make converts, when Jesus told us to make disciples (Matt 28:19). This drive-by evangelism is dangerous and un-Christian. Our pastors are not supposed to be CEOs, they are supposed to be Shepherds guiding us and counseling us.

I'm so, so happy to be at a church which is built on discipling people, rather than just converting them. A church where we meet each week and celebrate God's word and pray together corporately and share in communion together as brothers and sisters. A church with pastors who not only teach, but also love--and who are not satisfied with just converting the lost but who truly embrace God's challenge to go and make disciples.

Because frankly, when I look at most of the churches out there today...I see nothing that is even recognizably Christ-like.

4 comments:

  1. yes, this...."The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.".....is what I want in my life! great post!

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  2. Amen. We are told to be Lights in a dark world and we know that Jesus referenced the churches of Asia as lights/lamps on lamp-stands. I like to think that He still thinks of those of us who are His disciples in that same way. Church organizations today (like referenced in your post yesterday about the "lost youth") are trying to jazz-up things and make it a light show for people, rather than making people into lamps to reveal God's will in a dark world. They push a watered-down gospel with all gain and benefits of the promises of God, with none of the sacrifices and work that comes along with it (because, like you said, we must make disciples and spread the Word in addition to continual study and adoption of His words and His commands into our lives). If only these people/organizations would stop the feel-good message of "Find God's Plan for Your Life" and instead preach the real deal that we KNOW God's plan for your life!! and it is to SERVE HIM! It is to SPREAD His word, making disciples rather than fans! It is to live to grow faith in Him through His Word, and feast on Him as the Bread of Life. To align ourselves to that Word, and repent when we stray from the Word (being cleansed with Jesus blood)

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  3. I know exactly what you mean. This reminds me of the big Francis Chan discussion on Internet Monk around a year ago, and I came away from that whole thing thinking that if I wasn't already a Christian who understood that salvation's not riding on me, I would've thought, "Christianity sounds impossible! I can't do all that!"

    But it sounds like this post is taking aim at two different sorts of problems:

    1) The Francis Chan-esque Radical Extremely Jesus thing, that's all about you and what you're supposed to be doing in order to make God happy with you; and
    2) The growth-oriented megachurch movement that treats church like a business and is all about making "profits."

    While the former sort might have characteristics of the megachurch type of pastor, I think their ultimate objectives differ. The first is constantly annoyed at their congregation for not giving enough money, for example - they try to make their congregation uncomfortable; the latter is more about entertaining people and making them comfortable. They're both problematic.

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  4. Dude who just commented twice...I deleted these and will ban you if you continue, for violation of Commenting Rules #1, 4, and 5.

    If you don't like religion, that's your call. Maybe you can find better use of your time than making purposefully-offensive comments on a blog by Christians for Christians about Christianity.

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