“Some churches are choosing to meet in bars and dance clubs, because you know, meeting in a church building just isn’t the hip thing to do these days.”
A little over a month ago, I was heading out to run errands when I heard this on a local Christian radio station that quite frankly really ticked me off. I was so mad I had to pull over for a minute just to collect my thoughts and convince myself NOT to call in with my opinion. Trust me when I say they did NOT want to hear from me that day.I wanted to write a “Blog Friday” blog about this but I was in the middle of writing the “Extraordinary Women” series for my blog and I knew I couldn’t interrupt the series to write about this so I put it on the back burner to write about it later. That was a good thing because it took me a good month to cool off to the point that I could write about it without being steaming mad.
Why was I so mad about this? Because I believe Christianity isn’t a fad.
There’s a real problem in our churches. The focus seems to be on what is “hip and cool” instead of what is theologically and Biblically sound. We are more concerned about reaching the un-churched instead of educating believers. We are more concerned with having Starbucks on Sundays than studying the Scriptures. Sermons that were once grounded in Biblical doctrine are now sugar-coated and “feel good” rubbish. We are more concerned with feelings than saving souls. We are more concerned with not offending the un-churched than with keeping people accountable for their sins. This is really becoming a problem, in my opinion. Souls are not being saved, they are being coddled. People are not being taught Biblical right from wrong. Instead their sins are being glossed over and justified. We are more concerned with not offending the un-churched instead of saving them.
When did mediocrity become the norm for Christianity?
When I was growing up, we DRESSED UP for church out of respect for God. We put on our “Sunday best.” Whether our Sunday best was from Nordstrom or Goodwill, we wore our best clothes, bathed and combed our hair BECAUSE we respected God. From the time I was a little girl, I knew every hymn in the hymnal by heart. I knew the Doxology by the time I was three and could recite the Lord’s Prayer, too. All of this was from the doctrine being preached by the pulpit. We were educated and we knew what we believed. The coffee served on Sundays was Folgers but we were ok with it because that’s not what was really important. We memorized Scriptures in Sunday School and we knew our Bible backwards and forwards. We were being fed and fed well. And it showed.
Today, Hymns have been shoved aside for sometimes totally horrible Contemporary Christian lyrical rubbish. Choirs have been replaced with a rock band that feels more like you’re at a Grateful Dead concert rather than a Sunday morning worship service. The music is so loud you can’t even hear yourself sing. The presentation is more about worshipping the band than worshipping God.The music to Amazing Grace has even been changed because I guess the original just wasn’t cool enough? Hymnals have been replaced with large screens and Powerpoint presentations. People who are regular church attenders don’t even know the Doxology or The Lord’s Prayer anymore. You ask them to recite Psalm 23 and they don’t even know the first line.Bibles that are paraphrases, instead of actual translations, are being preached from the pulpit. Did you read that? Let me repeat that again. Bibles that are paraphrases instead of actual translations are being preached from the pulpit.
Today, Christians are emaciated. We are starving because our souls are not being fed. At all. We are so concerned with reaching out to others that we’ve forgotten to nourish ourselves first. We are trying to reach people when we ourselves are spiritually starving. We are becoming watered-down, mediocre, and bland. When Christ preached about being lukewarm, He was speaking about US. Our churches have become LUKEWARM.
The problem is not just in one of these things. It’s the slow and gradual chipping away at the core of Christianity. People don’t even bother to get dressed up anymore out of respect for God. They show up in jeans and even their pajama bottoms. The whole attitude is come as you are. Literally. People aren’t expected to even get dressed before coming to church and this is just a symptom to the bigger disease.
Christianity isn’t a fad because Jesus isn’tt a fad. When He walked this earth, He never watered down His message to reach the masses. He never worried about being accepted by people. He preached the Word. He told the Truth. He was concerned with saving souls. That was it. He didn’t worry about Starbucks or sugar-coating. He preached. He reached out. And He never changed His message. The Truth never changed.
It seems we’re so concerened with reaching the un-churched we have forgotten to educate the people who already worshipping on Sunday mornings. We have spent so much time reaching out to others, we’ve forgotten the ones who are already in the church building…people who are wanting to know more, wanting to learn as much as they can about Jesus and needing the Biblical background to understand what they truly believe so they can effectively reach others for Christ.
I agree with outreach, don’t get me wrong on that. But just as Jesus did, I believe we need to take care of the people already in the church before we start reaching out to others. Jesus always made His disciples His priority. Yes, He outreached but He also spent most of His time educating His disciples first BEFORE He reached out. After all, the disciples were going to be left to spread the word after Jesus was gone, so they had to have the background and the education to be able to do that effectively. He knew how important it was to educate them.
In this day and age of fads, Christianity is not one of them. Being a believer of Jesus isn’t a trend. It’s a life-long journey. And it takes real Biblical knowledge and education to be able to convey what Christ believed in order to effectively share the Good News with others. I believe it’s time our churches get back to educating the churched a little more instead of focusing solely on the un-churched. Whether you serve Starbucks on Sunday or not isn’t what’s really important. What’s really important is whether people are being saved. And in the end, Eternity is what really matters.