The Church often seems more concerned about relevancy and attracting “real” people through boasting of its worship style, relevant messages, acceptance of people, and myriad of ministries meant to attract every person of every age, than about boasting of Jesus Christ. We boast of our “church” rather than boasting of our Lord and Savior. We rally to get people to come to our church because it is “radical”, “rocking”, and “relevant”. One church boasts of its pastor, “He’s known for talking really fast, so as we say around here, we promise he won’t bore the hell out of you.” These claims will most likely get people in the door, but when do we take the emphasis off ourselves, our needs and place it on “knowing” God? The Church today is scrambling for ways to attract non-believers to Jesus, and rather than being light in a dark world, we try to look like the world in order to be relevant. The problem comes when people do not feel the “party atmosphere” (as one church site boasts of what you can expect when you come to their church). Or when we need a spiritual leader but cannot find one who will “spiritually parent” us because they are more interested in keeping us happy. Or when we keep coming to church and hearing great things about getting free in Christ, rocking with Jesus, power in prayer, yet we find ourselves broken, in bondage, and all hell breaking loose in our lives, even though we believe. If the Church simply looks, acts, talks, and does as the world does, we are not the Bride of a holy God.
No matter how great our church services, media, ministries, teaching, and preaching, in the end if we do not lead people into a relationship with the living God giving them opportunity to “know” Him, we fail miserably because His desire is to be known by His people. When we know God we will trust Him, His love, and His commitment to watch over us and bring us through. He will bring change His way and in His time. This “knowing” is best explained as Jesus gives us the meaning of eternal life in John 17:3 “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom You have sent.” It is crucial for us as Christians to know our heavenly Father and Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, not simply believe they exist. Knowing God will bring us into an intimate trusting relationship so when we do not understand life, when we feel at the end of our rope, when we pray and believe for victory yet experience unfairness and continued pain, we have a heavenly Father we can trust to not only bring us through, but change US. Knowing God has everything to do with love, and nothing to do with entertainment.
Once we begin this love walk with Him, we are transformed and could care little about all the “extras” we have made church all about. Surely, the argument can be made an attractive building and lots of parking spaces are appealing to newcomers. Music that “sounds” like what we listen to on the radio will attract this generation. Messages (please don’t call them sermons) which feed our appetites and make us feel good will make us come back again. Leaders who are“friends” is preferred (no callings please). Coffee and refreshments provided before or during our “meeting”, allowing us to roll out of bed, throw on our jeans, come as we are, and still get our “goodies” is a huge bonus.
What is Church supposed to be about – satisfying our pleasures and getting our needs met? Or is it about this God of ours who sent His one and only Son into this world to forgive us of all our sins and bring healing and wholeness to us? Of course, as Christians we are to reach out and preach the good news to the poor, bring hope, deliverance, recovery, and freedom to people. (Luke 4) When we are faithful to THIS calling, they will want to come in and be in relationship with Jesus because of what He has done for them, not because of what we offer to make church exciting, relevant, and comfortable.