As a church leader I never thought I would need to address this topic with You, but alas, I must. It has to do with the way You work in the Church. I know the New Testament gives many examples of Your supernatural invasion of people’s lives and some amazing things You did with the early church. I know it teaches us that Spirit filled believers are given supernatural gifts and can use them to minister to others and build up the church. However, in this new age, there must be a change. We don’t need You in the same way anymore.
This may come as a surprise to You, but it has been determined by the experts that You are NOT “visitor friendly”. Today we have a new revelation of the Great Commission which Jesus gave to the church. Actually, we know now that what He really meant to say was, “Go therefore and fill the churches with as many breathing individuals as you can! Don’t teach them much because they get bored easy. And don’t push discipleship because that is too demanding. And I will be there whenever you need something.” We have come to realize that allowing You to move supernaturally in the Church Service is messy, too emotional and, well….kind of embarrassing. We have chosen to replace you with activity that is much more effective, cool and acceptable.
You see, we discovered that multi-media, cutting edge music, and entertaining soft messages are easier for unbelievers to handle. They don’t need to see the supernatural. They don’t need to encounter guilt or conviction for their sin. They don’t need Your power in their lives and the gifts of the Spirit are just not that necessary anymore. We figured out that what the world really needs to see are the great skills and creativity of the paid professionals, like me, who perform at the church each week. After all, we humans are different today. We don’t need that “old fashioned” stuff from the past. We need a fast paced, digitally controlled atmosphere that appeals to the masses and helps folks get their religious experience quickly and easily, with enough wow factor to get them to come back for more.
Surely you’ve noticed the gimmicks and methods we use. The music pierces our eardrums and drowns out the lyrics. Man, we can really feel it now. We’ve got colored flashing lights, dark worship space, and special effects rivaling any rock band. We’ve made Church fun and a great place to hang out for an hour. People really like us since we’ve made the changes. Look at all the responses we have on Facebook and how many subscribe to our streaming videos! Our church and we leaders are finally getting the fame and recognition we deserve. The people who attend our services are sophisticated, advanced and eager to get back to our lives after the service. They don’t want in depth, systematic teaching and preaching anymore. They just can’t sit through that stuff. They are in a hurry. All they really need is inspiration, love and something to belong to.
We leaders have also realized that if You were to move supernaturally in our services, some could fall to the floor and be overwhelmed (convicted) by their sin and discover their desperate need for Jesus. There might be a spontaneous song that would stir the church to a deeper level of worship. A prophetic word could come from an anointed believer that may stir us up to a new level of commitment. Then there’s that other messy stuff: speaking/praying in tongues, interpretation, miracles, healing, and discerning of spirits. You have to understand, if you did these things the church leadership would feel like we don’t have control. Worse yet, there might be a response from the audience that we leaders don’t want and could possibly make people feel uncomfortable. We just can’t have this in our church anymore.
We do want You to be present among us, but please, stay in the little religion box we have made for You and don’t get in the way of our concert and the little show we put together. We’ve finally achieved the perfect blend of religion and entertainment. Our audience is content and they feel good about bringing their family and friends now.
We’ll continue to teach about you in our membership class so our people know the basics. We’ll even throw in those verses about the spiritual gifts because we do believe in them. We just don’t want anyone to use them in the service because that will interfere with our program. So please help us maintain our visitor friendly environment and stay in Your place. We have everything we need now to run the Church for Jesus.
Note to reader: Is this really the kind of church we want? Is this really the kind of relationship we want with the Spirit of God? Much of the church has fallen into deception and worldliness. While there is nothing wrong with utilizing modern methods to reach out to the world, it is wrong to make them the primary focus of what we do and exclude the operation of the Holy Spirit. We are not called to be people centered but God centered. We are not called to water down the message to make the unbelievers comfortable so they will stay, but to proclaim the whole counsel of God. The Holy Spirit is NOT embarrassment but empowerment and needs to be honored and released to do His work.
Church leaders need to fall on their faces and seek God for an outpouring of the Spirit. Create an atmosphere where He can flow and thrive. Release those who have been filled with the Spirit to use their gifts, so Jesus can meet the needs of all who are present. No one leader has the full expression of Jesus. That’s why He pours out the Holy Spirit on everyone who would receive Him. Together we can meet every need. Acknowledge this truth and yield to Him. Remember, the Church belongs to Jesus, not you. Let Him run it the way He wants.
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