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Friday, May 8, 2009

Consumerism and Christianity Don't Mix

A lot of people believe that they join a church to get the benefits which come with membership. After all, isn't this the reason people join anything? They seek the benefits that come with the membership. They pay the fee and join. From this point on they see the benefits that come from that membership.

The church is the only organization that I know whose membership exists for the people who are not members. Church membership does not hold privileges for how much you give or how much you serve. The church shouldn't take account of how many years you have been a member or that your family has been members for generations.

Maturing Christians realize that it isn't about them at all. It is about who Christ is and how He can change people into heaven bound believers whose mission is to take as many people to heaven with them as possible. The attitude that the church exists for the membership is killing churches. The attitude that Christianity is a closed group with privileges is killing evangelism.

You don't know how many times I have heard people threaten to leave the church because they didn't get some privilege they thought they deserved. They have a warped sense of church and Christianity. They think that Christ came to serve them and everyone He has called since He walked on the earth should serve them too. They do not understand Christ, the Church nor what true faith entails.

It makes me think that every church should put at the top of their new members folder, "It's Not About You!!!" Churches are people whose faith has led them to bind together to accomplish the mission of making disciples of and for Jesus Christ. We see our mission and make whatever personal sacrifices necessary to achieve this mission.

I have seen members quit coming to church and then say they are not coming back when the church did not spend all its effort to get them to come back. They will admit that someone contacted them but their offense is either that the church didn't continue contacting or that it didn't reach the level of a personal visit by the senior pastor. They haven't thought that the senior pastor would do nothing else but pacify members if the rest of the members were as childish as they are.

A growing church simply cannot continue to coddle people who take up time which should be used in furthering the kingdom of God. I know someone will tell the story of the ninety-nine sheep that were safe and the one that was lost. The shepherd leaves those who are safe and finds the one that is lost. This is not the case of wayward church members. We assume that people join the church only after being saved. They are not lost and should not act like the lost. They need to grow up and realize they are acting like they are lost and keeping the church from the mission.

The mission of reaching people is the most glorious thing I know. You see people whose lives are changed; I mean truly changed. Men who become Christians become better husbands and fathers. Women who become Christians become better wives and mothers. The faith shares an everlasting love that cannot be taken away. There is a new security in the person's life. The person knows that he or she is not perfect but always forgiven. The burdens of their lives are taken to the One who has saved them. They rest in His favor.

These changed people want others to come to the same knowledge that they have. They want others to experience the same salvation from death, sin and the loneliness of the soul. They go on mission because the One within them leads them to reach others. They make sacrifices rather than demands for the Church's mission. They do not see themselves as consumers but as co-laborers and their lives are filled with joy in each baptism and victory over sin.

Each day I am amazed that Christ has called me out of my sinfulness to be His. I am amazed He calls upon me to do His will. I am privileged to make what some would call "sacrifice" to do what He has called me to do. I wonder how many Christians are caught in the wonder of service for Him.

If you truly understand the faith, you realize the privilege of service. It is so glorious.

197.5

1 comment:

Royce said...

Now THAT was a sermon in itself!
Amen