(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)
As my family and I have done ministry across the United States, I have come to realize that many churches are dying off. So many of the leaders are discouraged. They can’t get any new people in their doors; especially young people. No matter how many programs they try, they cannot grow.
Why? Where did we go wrong? What did we mess up?
Well, let’s take a look at Colossians 2:8-10 which says, “Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elements of the world, rather than Christ. For the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ, and you have been filled by Him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.” CSB
So based off that verse, could this be where Church went wrong?
- We have made Christianity and Church all about philosophy and human tradition based on what the world says and even looks like.
- Once we did that, we lost the true nature of Christ. We forgot that it’s about Jesus and advancing His kingdom.
Look at all the areas where Christians get together to worship Jesus in secret because of persecution; they’re thriving! New people are coming in willing to risk jail, torture, and even their own lives! They are making new believers because they are not silent, despite a great cost.
Because they know that it’s about Jesus and not about routine and rituals! They know that they have been filled with the Holy Spirit and have power!
That’s why they are packing their homes and the other places they meet.
However, there is a bold truth that the American Church doesn’t want to hear… Once you start making Church a chore and all about tradition and philosophy, people will STOP coming. Why? Because you have lost what they actually NEED, in an attempt to give them what you think they WANT.
Richard Greene, Keystone Discipleship Project founder, once said, “What you win them by is what you win them to.” So, if we win people into our church by entertainment & flashy programs, then we are winning them to a false, and very shallow faith.
Leonard Ravenhill once said, “The church that is man-managed instead of God-governed is doomed to failure. A ministry that is college-trained, but not Spirit-filled, works no miracles.”
Church went wrong when we lost Jesus!
You see, we put so much effort and time into developing programs or events like Easter egg hunts, movie nights, Vacation Bible Schools, or youth overnights and then forget to even leave time to share the Gospel. We neglect to share the single most important thing with folks because we don’t have time in the business of “church”.
Guys! This is our reality, and we need to wake up to it!
David Platt once said this, “We have a dangerous tendency to misunderstand, minimize, and even manipulate the Gospel in order to accommodate our assumptions and our desires.”
To put it plainly, a lot of Christians do not grasp the power of Jesus and what He did for us on the cross. Many do not understand or appreciate their Salvation that came through the blood shed on Calvary!
I mean, people in the persecuted church are walking miles and miles on foot to worship Jesus in secret! While the American church is complaining about how hard it is to get in our cars and drive a couple minutes to 2nd service!
Our persecuted brothers and sisters truly appreciate Jesus, and what He did for them. They count it a privilege to walk a few miles in the crazy heat to worship Him! They actually long to worship Jesus!
If only the American church could get back to her first love and ditch the whole man-made tradition and routine idea. Only then, will we experience Him and His holy presence and begin to see an ushering in of repentance poured out among the nations of this sinful world.
“You never have to advertise a fire. Everyone comes running when there’s a fire. Likewise, if your church is on fire, you will not have to advertise it. The community will already know it.” -Leonard Ravenhill
SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?
~Do you genuinely understand and appreciate your Salvation?
~How can you help your church get back to Jesus and the only true purpose of church?
~Are you on fire? Do other people see that?