If the Church is God’s answer to our spiritual needs, then why are most churched Christians so spiritually immature and desperate?
If the local church were the answer to our deep spiritual need, we would see two things: First, people who were most heavily involved in a Christian church congregation would be more spiritually developed than others. Second, churched Christians would increasingly reflect the principles and characteristics Scripture tells us are the marks of Jesus’ true disciples. However, research consistently shows the disconnect between who we are as believers and how Christians live out their beliefs and what the Bible calls us to be and then do. So, the Church is failing to fulfill the mandate the Lord gave to it.
After all, if the local church is comprised of people who have been transformed by the grace of God through their redemption in Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit, then their lives should be noticeably and compellingly different from the norm lived by non-believers today.
Earlier in this series we saw the seven passions of those we are calling revolutionaries – seriously committed disciples of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Let me list them for you again…
1> Intimate worship
2> Faith-based conversations
3> Intentional spiritual growth
4> A place to serve (servanthood)
5> Resource investment
6> Spiritual friendships
7> Family faith
Let’s see if the same kind of transformation is evident in the lives of contemporary Christians in general (as seen by many recent surveys)….
1> Regarding worship…
- Regular attendance at corporate worship services is now seen as two times a month. And, by their own admission, most believers will tell you that this is the only time that they worship God.
- The vast majority of believers do not feel that they have encountered the presence of God, or experienced a connection with Him, during any of there worship services that they attend
- About half of all born again believers surveyed say that they do not feel they have entered into the presence of God or experienced a genuine connection with Him during the past year
- Only one our of every four churched believers says that when they worship God, they expect Him to be the primary beneficiary of their worship. Most people say they expect to get the most from the experience.
Let me remind you what the early church experienced and what revolutionary Christians today are looking for in the church…
In the early church every believer was expected to worship God every day, both in private and in the company of other believers as they gathered together for common meals. This did not require a “worship service”; it only necessitated a commitment to feel the awe of God’s magnificence, to express gratitude for His love and authority, to acknowledge His control and power, to follow Him with dedication, and to enjoy the miracle of His relationship with us.
2> Regarding Faith-based conversations…
- The typical churched believer will die without leading a single person to a lifesaving knowledge of and relationship with Jesus Christ
- At any given time, a majority of believers do not have a specific person in mind for whom they are praying in the hope that the person will be saved
- Most churched Christians believe that since they are not gifted in evangelism, such outreach is not a significant responsibility of theirs
Let me remind you of what the early church believed and lived and what revolutionaries are looking for in a local church and in their own life today…
We are called to share His love with those who have not yet understood it or embrace it. It is natural to talk about and promote the things that excite us. Nothing should excite us more than the realization that God Himself loves us, wants an intimate relationship with us, and allows us to invite others into that sacred and priceless relationship with Him (see: 1 John 1:1-4). The evangelistic efforts of the first believers were carried out through preaching, low-key/high-impact conversations about truth and purpose, prayer, performing miracles to foster the opportunity to discuss the Source of their power and the joy-filled perspective they had toward God and life that created interest in their lives.
Again, apparently the Church today is not living up to the Scriptural mandate given to us by the Head of the Church, Jesus.
More next time….