So as I write this new blog I realize it has been some time. I usually keep pretty busy but it doesn’t mean that my mind and heart is not full of things I wish I could just wrap together and put in a book. Some of the big things I burden over are the church and also the call of the church. You know what really hits me is where did we change focus or direction as a church. Here is what I mean…
Acts 2:42-47 “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
What we see in this passage is the core of the church and its start up. We see the same love that Jesus talks about in Luke 10:27 “He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” We also see the Great Commission as found in Matthew 28. The core or the essence of the church is love of God and people but in that we fulfill the Great Commission.
So I come back to my original question. Where did we go wrong? I read the stories of the Disciples and read the stories of great faith from people that had passion but were in no way perfect. This group that followed Jesus were just like us….not perfect, full of issues and yet in that God worked out His perfect plan the church (the people). In this we see the people who were as it says; devoted to teaching and fellowship, meals together and praying together, unity in body and even in possessions, full of praise and couldn’t wait to be together. So here is what I see in the American church…disunity in a lot of churches, lack of passion, a numbers game of who can have more in worship, and a lot of “me-ism” (all about me).
Now I don’t say that to blast every church in America but just a pulse check to make sure we are focused right. You see the whole key to the Acts 2 passage is the last verse; “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” You see this is the REAL growth…disciple making and missionally minded people (churches) that realize growth comes from God and God alone. It is also a sign that all this…church, worship, small groups or whatever is not about us but about Christ. Read the passage again. It starts going from what this unified body did together in Christ and then seeing the Lord glorified and HE grew the numbers of those finding Jesus. It wasn’t about how many can we get in the chairs or pews but about how many found Jesus.
Now I have had several people tell me that we can’t do church like they did in the Bible (speaking about Acts 2) and I always question why. Is it really because we can’t or are not willing to try. Isn’t it about simplicity and back the basics of church anyways. It always make me think about that older worship song “Heart of Worship”:
“I’m coming back to the heart of worship and it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus.
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it when it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus.”
What I have learned is that I am still learning. I have learned that the church world I am in is not about me. It is about Jesus and seeing people come to a real and passionate relationship with Christ. My passion has changed over the years. It used to be when I was young in ministry about growth for more personal gain. Today…WAY much different. Today my passion is about leading others to Christ and Christ alone. I also have a passion to refocus the church on what the essence or core of church should be based on the amazing Word of God.
So where has a lot of the church lost focus….was it when it became more about buildings and our comfort? Maybe it was about the time when it was more about the “bling” or “ka-ching” in the offering plate. Maybe it is when we decided that only OUR favorite music needed to be played in church (hymns, modern or whatever style). Maybe it was when we decided to worship ourselves versus Jesus Christ. As I write this I realize I have done some pretty stupid things over the years in ministry. Yeah, I said it…and I am willing to admit to it too. What I want me and the others who happen to read this to do is to help me re-think church. Let’s take it back to the basics where the essence or core of church was about Jesus and leading people to the cross. Let’s take it back to the church of the “Fellowship of Believers” and may God add to our numbers daily those who were being saved.