Thursday, August 28, 2008

Jiffy Pop Church

“Just as surely as God desires to lead us to a knowledge of genuine Christian fellowship, so surely must we be overwhelmed by a great disillusionment with others, with Christians in general, and, if we are fortunate, with ourselves.”
D. Bonhoeffer, Life Together

This is a true statement. I am in the midst of being disillusioned with people and myself. And at the same time, the Christian culture pumps and promotes easy-bake discipleship (If you know me, this is my new phrase and possible title for my book that I have yet to write, but the title sounds good).

I am bombarded by brochures for books and conference that have the same speakers saying the same things over and over again. They spend so much time speaking at conferences when do they actually do ministry? They may have had a “win” in ministry and now they’re selling their model or recipe for ministry. Some of us buy it and then try it out only to find it doesn’t work in our community. Did we miss a step? Did we forget an ingredient? Could it be me?

I’m also bombarded with testimonies of when a church just added small groups the church exploded and there was a big love-fest. It doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes it flops.

I would love a session at a conference where the speaker spoke about “When Community Sucks, and What you thought was right isn’t”. Don’t get me wrong. I am all about community and the church. I love the church and what it is suppose to be. What I am disillusioned by is what it currently is. Yes, I have read Rob Bell, and he too easily discards the local church, and too easily promotes the Mars Hill effect. I love what Rob is doing for his faith community, but its not to be replicated or licensed as a franchise as an excuse for people to leave their current faith community. If one is called to move on it must be done prayerfully and with great discernment and pain, not with the ease of flipping a switch or changing an outfit.

So as painful as disillusionment is, it’s good. It helps to clarify the reality of a situation. It shoves you into the light of truth. It paves the way for repentance. “Not my will, but let Yours be done.”


Amy said...

Our pastor has been preaching on Revelation the past couple of months. We're almost through the letters to the churches! We were on 3:7-13 last week: the church in Philadelphia. He showed us that faithfulness is more important than "success" (man's definition, anyway). How even though this church was not known for its power, it was praised for being faithful.

One other point he made that really left an impression:
He was talking about v. 12 "I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore, and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name."
The highest calling as a human being is to be a Christian; we have a permanent dwelling place in the presence of God - how awesome is that! And this is what stayed with me: "If we are bored by God and worship, why do we think we are fit for heaven? What are we preparing for?"

Sorry to leave a mini-sermon, but I thought some of this went along with the whole "disillusionment" thing. Our pastor pointed out to us that he has real feelings of envy when he goes to presbytery meetings. Our church is not very big (as our town is not, either!) but we are in a presbytery with many large churches. He feels jealous when he hears about other churches' ministries but that's not what God wants for our church. But it is hard to think about what others have. You're right that just because something "works" one place that it will as a franchise (as you put it).

I guess we all need to be reminded that more important than a book or conference is to be in the Word. That is one thing that will never return void.

Keep fighting the good fight! :)