When Christianity doesn’t Work
American culture has become one that finds value only in things that are practical, things that work. Every idea or conviction is judged by its ability to make our lives easier: Will it help me raise my kids, build a successful marriage, and live a healthy life? So when an idea or conviction doesn’t come through, we find it easy to move on to another product. So often, when people come to Christ, they are promised “victory in Jesus.” Smiling happy people tell about how they once were unhappy, and now they are filled with buoyant exultation. Broken marriages are helped, rebellious children are returned to the straight and narrow, and depression is now a testimony of deliverance and freedom.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Or, for the sake of this post, from True North.
Now I am in no way implying that being a Christian is not advantageous to life. Without Christ life is hard, it can be brutal and worse of all, to get to the end and find out that you’ve stepped off into an eternity without God, only to experience the everlasting flames of torment and torture.
It’s not the message of Christianity that’s messed up. It’s the message we American leaders have allowed to become the central theme of our Christianity. Instead of making disciples, we’ve turned our mainstream message and churches into weekend events, sermons, and a “come watch my show” mentality and as hard as it is to admit, “we” are NOT making true disciples.
Here are 3 things that I believe can give us a jump start to the kind of discipleship Jesus commanded us to be doing, and will help our Christianity actually work.
1. Christianity works when there is an Intentional Commitment to Being a Follower of Jesus.
We’ve got to stop being Fans of Jesus, and become committed followers of Jesus.
- For a Fan of Jesus, the weekend event is everything. For a follower of Jesus, the week-long commitment is everything.
- For a Fan of Jesus, a dose of Scripture on Sunday morning is all they need to get them through the week. For a follower of Jesus, the Word of God is daily hidden in their heart.
- For a Fan of Jesus, the work of the ministry is for the paid staff at the weekend event they attend. For a follower of Jesus, ministry is their life calling regardless of their occupation.
- Fans love the hype, the comfort, being taught and encouraged. Followers are willing to serve their Lord and go anywhere He leads, do anything He asks, and say whatever to whomever He says.
- Fans love their church. Followers love being the church.
- Fans see their local church as the end all. Followers see their local church as a much-needed oasis in the mist of a dry desert.
God help us to differentiate between the two.
2. Christianity works when there is Balance.
No doubt if you are reading this, (and are on Facebook) you’ve seen the excesses Christians will go to in order to promote a pet doctrine. Whether it’s the Grace movement, the Faith movement, the Prophetic movement, or whatever may be next coming down the pipe, christians can find it very difficult to stay balanced. And when christians get out of balance, they can become very mean, judgemental, critical, and go on the attack of anyone who does not jump in their bandwagon with them. I know of hyper grace people who have no grace with others, faith people who are broke and sick, yet will not listen to anyone else unless they are from the “faith” camp, and prophetic people who believe it is their job to override the Holy Spirit’s role when it comes to giving revelation and insight to others.
We desperately need leaders in the Body of Christ who are balanced with their doctrine and allow the Word (with fear and trembling) to shape our beliefs and teachings.
We need Grace, we need to learn to walk our journey by faith, and we need the prophetic to stir us up towards good works. But we also need to understand our role in Missions, how to accurately love our families, be true to our spouses, and how to handle and be stewards of the resources God places in our care.
In Short, We need to stop getting our Theology from Facebook, Blogs, Vlogs, Twitter, or the like, and we need to get back to the whole council of God which is ONLY found in the 66 books of what used to be known in most churches as the Holy Bible.
3. Christianity works when there is true Discipleship happening.
The word discipleship has become very obtrude to church leaders the last 20 years or so. We all know that discipleship is necessary, but we’ve not figured out how to effectively do it and our weekend performance at the same time. So instead of diving headlong into making sure every congregation member is in fact being discipled as well as making disciples of others, we have found it much easier to keep it covered up with activity in some corner of the room. But eventually, and as always, the elephant will move and all the work we’ve done to keep it covered falls to the ground.
At the church I am the lead servant at, Journey Church in Rome GA, our leadership is more determined than ever to make true biblical disciple the primary special sauce of our church from this point forward. Even with the huge amount of work that I see in our formable future, I believe the payoff will be insurmountable for our church and our city.
Our goal for 2015 is to begin the process at Journey to develop “Spiritually Mature Christians who will go do the Work of the Ministry, and Fulfilling the Great Commission.
I pray the Lord will speak to every leader of a congregation the same things concerning making disciples.
As always, be sure to like my page on Facebook, and feel free to follow me on Twitter at @douglascrumbly