The search for generational relevancy and attractiveness for the Church seems to always end in showy, acquiescing, complacency, and ineffectual teaching.
You can put on a show and attract people. You can get them jumping and entertain them and even use the name of Jesus or the generic word God here and there. Where is the fruit of your efforts?
Jesus wants His people to lean on Him for the source and that our Fruits that we produce in Him remain.
People can walk an aisle after an emotional plea, the music is pumping, energy is high the smoke and lasers are just spot on, they leave and live the same way, act the same way and other than attendance on occasion when the vibe is right, there is no outward sign of an inward change.
The search for reaching out to this generation, that generation, any generation is about the Power of the Gospel, the Word of God, the Demonstration of signs and wonders Confirming the Word.
- We have substituted fake smoke for the Shekinah Glory of God.
- We have substituted platitudes for corrective doctrine and teaching.
- We are compromising the Word to prevent people from “feeling uncomfortable”.
- I do not care how big your church is, or how small your church is.
- I do not care how many people you can cram into it on any one occasion.
- I care about stopping someone that has attended your church, my church, our church, any church and asking them basic Bible knowledge and them knowing the answer.
I recall discussing with one leader about how none of the people attending for the last 6 months that they seemed happy, enjoying themselves, settling in just fine but when in a normal conversation about the latest teaching and preaching I mentioned the Holy Spirit.
“The what now?” They asked me confused.
“The Holy Spirit, the third person of God.” I replied.
“What are you talking about?” They asked me again.
They had no idea about what I was talking about when I mention part of the God Head.
Foundational, Basic Bible doctrine and understanding is key to real Church growth, and spiritual development in the Body.
A church that does not teach the basics to its members only a christian entertainment club at best.
The real key to God building the Church and Man building a personal vision is the uncompromising Word of God.
I touched on this recently in another post about how in the Middle East 12 men were beheaded, all Christian, for their faith in Christ.
Later that same month, 30,000 gave their life to Jesus in an underground meeting.
The following months saw at a single underground Christian conference over 2 million giving their hearts to Jesus.
Do you know what drew them to do that?
The Word of God. Salvation, healing, peace, love, joy and the Presence of the Living God.
It was not smoke and lasers, not pats on the back of sinners saying it’s ok stay as you are.
The search for relevancy is absurd. How arrogant of leaders of the modern church think they have to help God out by compromising the Word.
There is nothing more relevant than the Gospel for a world full of people that need to be free from sin.
2 Chronicles 5:13-14 Amplified Bible (AMP)
13 in unison when the trumpeters and singers were to make themselves heard with one voice praising and thanking the Lord, and when they raised their voices accompanied by the trumpets and cymbals and [other] instruments of music, and when they praised the Lord, saying, “For He is good, for His mercy and loving kindness endure forever,” then the house of the Lord was filled with a cloud,14 so that the priests could not remain standing to minister because of the cloud; for the glory and brilliance of the Lord filled the house of God.
Acts 10:44 Amplified Bible (AMP)
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who were listening to the message [confirming God’s acceptance of Gentiles].
Mark 16:20 Amplified Bible (AMP)
20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord was working with them and confirming the word by the signs that followed.]
What is the true measure of relevancy of the Gospel in the world?
We need to understand that the Gospel is already relevant. Paul said ‘Become all things to all men‘ in order to preach to them. This is not permission to compromise the Word but understanding we need to shape the conversation starters the right way.
Jesus meeting a fisherman, “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”
Do you really think the underground meeting in the Middle East was consisting of a coffee bar, laser lights, smoke, live music playing the latest hits from the charts, and a “minister” telling them that their sin is not sin?
Perhaps we need to scrap the idea of “modern” Church and buildings and numbers to judge our performance and success.
Perhaps we can allow the Word of God to do what it was intended to do, convict, convince and convert.
Perhaps we should stop trying to improve and fix what is not broken in the first place.
The Gospel fixes the broken, why then are leaders today trying to use obvious broken methods.
Leaders should be preaching the Word of God, not modern philosophy.
Leaders should focus on their own time with God and push God’s vision for the world and not their own.
Leaders are better leaders when they are led themselves. Jesus is our Lord and Savior. Lords lead, guide, direct, order and correct.
Want to grow a church? Need to grow a ministry?
Sow in tears, in prayer time with God, deep in His Word, reconfirming the basics in their own walk. We should be sharing that passion for God’s Word and presence with others.
Study to show yourself approved. (Not by man but by God)
If your focus is to impress men, your focus is flawed deeply.
If our goal is to do whatever it takes to please God, why then are leaders convinced that society must dictate to us how to shape ourselves to please them?
I interviewed a minister from the Church of England one day live on the radio.
In the course of my conversation with him I asked a very pointed question but I already knew what the answer would be.
“Should the Church, any church let the Bible speak for itself in what to do, teach, say to reach the world and what to teach people, or should the Church listen to society and popular opinion on how to act, speak, say, teach and present itself in order to reach the world?” I asked him.
He answered as I expected he would, “We should always let the world dictate to us what they want to hear from us and we should shape our message and what we talk about to what they want us to. How else would we be relevant to their generation.”
In the Word there is a mention of this bad doctrine of compromise. It is in the Book of Revelations where Jesus is actually correcting and chastising the churches for faults and issues they let creep in.
Revelation 2:6 Amplified Bible (AMP)
6 Yet you have this [to your credit], that you hate the works and corrupt teachings of the [a] Nicolaitans [that mislead and delude the people], which I also hate.
There is scant information about the cult of the Nicolaitans, but it appears they adopted a syncretistic worship, combining Christianity and idolatry. They may have held heretical views similar to those mentioned in vv 14 and 20.
Revelation 2:15 Amplified Bible (AMP)
15 You also have some who in the same way are holding to the teaching of the[a]Nicolaitans.
This doctrine of bad teaching is often traced back to one of the deacons in the early church. Nicholas was one of the deacons listed in the early church. His primary task was to help serve food and distribute goods and assist church members during the times they gathered.
Steven, the first Christian martyr was a deacon as well. He was well known for blessing, helping and praying with signs and wonders for the same group of people.
Nicholas was a convert to Christianity and from what is known about him, he converted from religion to religion, and each time picked up something here and there that stuck with him that he never let go of. His dealings with the congregation usually involved patting them on the back and telling them that sin was ok and it was fine to live however you want, deal with witchcraft, and dabble in other religions.
This was the doctrine of compromise. Telling people it was ok to remain as you are and not give them the truth of the Gospel.
- Just some thoughts by Associate Pastor Joseph Dispensa (Mission at Home Project)