The following post showed up on my daughter’s Facebook news feed the other day, and led to great discussion, and deep pondering:
“What if we take away the cool music and the cushioned chairs? What if the screens are gone and the stage is no longer decorated? What if the air conditioning is off and the comforts are removed? Would His Word still be enough for His people to come together?”
“Christ calls men to carry a cross; we call them to have fun in His name.”
What if there was no stage? Why does there have to be a stage in ministry? Aren’t we supposed to be one in Christ?
26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
— Galatians 3:26-29 NKJV
Jesus didn’t need to stand on a stage. He ministered wherever He went, and people listened, because they were hungry for the truth. He didn’t need an opening band to warm the crowd up. He warmed them with His love. Jesus ministered, not only on the temple steps, but in the streets, at funerals, wherever He went.
He didn’t preach nice ear-tickling sermons. He wasn’t politically correct. Indeed, society’s leaders hated Him, because He cried out against sin and injustice, and He spoke words that were contrary to their belief system. He offered them nothing of this world, and yet, people were drawn to Him anyway…
43 But Jesus replied, “Stop complaining about what I said. 44 For no one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws them to Me, and at the last day I will raise them up…”
— John 6:43-44 NLT
— Read John 6:20-70
Jesus didn’t depend on a contemporary worship service, or a charismatic speaker to draw the people to Him. He knew that only One could draw mankind to Him, and that was His Father. What makes us think, that with our many “programs” today, we can draw people to Jesus? Only God can do that, and while we may draw many people to our mega-churches or our mini-churches, we aren’t called to make church members of all nations, tribes and tongues.
We are called to make disciples (followers of Christ) of all nations, but how can we do this, if we are so focused on our various programs that we’ve lost sight of the only One who can draw people to Him? How can we make disciples of all nations, when we are busy building bigger and better churches? Didn’t Jesus command us to GO and make disciples of all nations? We can’t do that within the four walls of the church. We must go into the world, speaking the truth in love, as we follow God’s Holy Spirit, and allow our Father to draw men to Christ.
Yes, we must join one another in prayer, and disciple others, so that they, too, can go into the world, allowing God to minister through them, and draw still more to Christ. Entertainment is not necessary. Yes, it’s great to sing praises to the Lord. Scriptures command us to do so, but it is for His glory, not our own. It is to bless Him, not ourselves. We are called to worship Him, not to entertain ourselves.
Is it any wonder that more people are not drawn to churches? Much of what they receive in church, they can receive in the world. Our churches have become so comfortable with their traditions, and programs, that they no longer have room for the gospel of truth.
What if we went to church one Sunday, and there was no music or band playing? What if we went to church one Sunday, and there was no one on a stage? What if we went to church one Sunday, and the only words spoken were the words of God? What if we went to church and everyone humbled themselves and prayed, and repented of their sins, and sought God’s face? What if this became the norm? What if, after humbling themselves, praying and seeking God’s face, men and women left the building, going into the world, and making disciples of all nations… of this nation???
What if you, and I started this today, within our own home? Brothers and sisters, the people of this world want something genuine and real. I want something genuine and real, don’t you? I want to hear God’s voice, not another man’s voice. I want to walk in obedience to God’s will, not man’s whim, don’t you? What if God’s people, those of us, who call ourselves children of the Most High, would humble ourselves and pray and repent, and seek God’s face? What if we turned from our wicked ways? Is He not still the same God, who promised to hear from heaven and come down, and heal our land? If ever a nation needs healing, ours does!
Father, hear our cries, as we stop “doing church as usual.” Hear us, Lord, as we (I) humble ourselves before you. Lord, I seek Your holy face, and I turn from all my wicked ways. Forgive us of our sins, and heal our land. Lord, draw us closer to Jesus, and draw those who are lost, beginning with the leaders of this country, Father, to Jesus! Draw our families and our loved ones to Jesus, Lord. And also draw our enemies to Jesus, Father. Unite us with one mind, one body, and one Spirit, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Cheryl A. Showers