Starting this Sunday (April 10) in our morning worship services we’ll be working through the Book of Acts. One of the biggest struggles Christianity faces today is that younger generations do not see a need for the church. Whereas historically, churches have been seen as the center of community activity, now churches are usually considered as relatively peripheral. Our culture is a spiritual one, but for some reason we have begun to separate spirituality from the church. Why is that?
— Could it be because our churches have become more about tradition and preference than about the gospel? If church is only or even mostly about tradition and contemporary trends, then what happens to the church who does not change traditions and trends as the generations progress? It becomes irrelevant and unproductive. Better and easier for a “spiritual” individual to practice trendiness and personal preferences separate from others who may have differences in opinion and/or preference… much less resistance that way. But is our biggest struggle really cultural trendiness?
— Could it be because the enemy is working overtime to dwarf the importance of cooperative worship and like-minded fellowship among believers? Can’t I be a “Christian” and “worship God” wherever, however, and with/without whomever I want? There’s so much diversity in churches. I can be effectively spiritual on the lake, in my home watching TV, as part of an internet cyber-church, or even in a bar putting back shots of Tequila. Can’t I??? … I wonder, if Satan can paint the picture of Jesus’ church as being a bunch of out-of-date, racist, classist, hypocritical pigs… I wonder if he can convince a culture immersed in sin that the vehicle for worldwide gospel saturation (the New Testament Church) is really just a big joke. Seems like he’s certainly trying.
The biblical New Testament Church is clearly seen as the ongoing work of Jesus Christ after ascension – through the work of the Apostles and under the guidance and direction of God the Holy Spirit. Can you really love Jesus, and not the church? Can we be biblical and serve God but push His church to the sidelines?
Our culture is a personal one. Have you noticed the increased personalization of inanimate objects? Apple Computers was really groundbreaking with this… iTunes, iMac, iPod, iPhone. Apple has found a way to personalize things that seem so impersonal. In turn, it has increased the usage and perceived “need” for these objects of cultural obsession. “iChurch.” Can we again start to see the church as personal, significant, and an extension of who we are?
And are we willing, as the early church was, to give up our preferences, time, energy, and resources for the sake of the lost world around us? I, for one, would like to see the church of Jesus be both biblical and effective. I believe in the church.
iChurch. Do you?
Grace and Peace,