February 28, 2011

A Redundancy of the Commercialized Church

In the wake of an over-commercialized church and the Ameicanized Church, there is one thing that I find so frustrating, so utterly distracting, and downright stupid and yet I know for a fact that I have participated and continue to participate in this at times. That thing I can't stand is the American Idol-esque judging of worship services and teachings that takes place every single time any message, worship service or ministry ever tries to put on a program to encourage, uplift and challenge people who, seemingly, want to be more like Jesus.

How many times have I asked or been asked how service went and the reply was not how God taught them today. No, rather the discussion was about how well the service went, or how long the worship leader talked instead of playing his guitar. There are certain times when this might be the approprite response like when you are with a planning group trying to seek God's face on how to guide His ministry.

Here's my beef. At no point in Jesus' teaching, the accounts of the early church, in Paul's writings to the churches or the training of Timothy or Titus, did anybody say, "teach them to know a good communicator" or "make sure they can identify an effective ministry." You never find Paul asking the churches if they have been having good communicators with Timothy gone, or Apollos on vacation.

Instead, you find them urging people to seek His Kingdom; to find Jesus in everyway that you can. To desire Jesus before you desire anything else in the world; To recognize that no matter what takes place in the ministries that God has ordered and established, no one communicator is to be the focal point of your life. Rather Paul pleads with the Church to quit bickering over who they follow, but to recognize that it is only God who nourishes, God who provides, God who waters the seed.

The critical spirit that I notice in the Church today, I know is probably amplified because it is my job to try and create and facilitate my interpretation of God's direction for a ministry in His Church. But, the reality sets in that this critical spirit has us more focused on the minor things than the majors. Our critical spirit allows us to get frustrated that the message didn't go as we had thought it was going to, than recognizing the conviction of the Holy Spirit to stop living a double life of "Chritianity" and the partying that continues to take place in our life. This same critical spirit that shows up and gets frustrated that the service went 15 minutes over, gets in the way of us recognizing Grace and mercy in our lives.

So, this week, as you attend any number of ministry programs, read books, or attend a worship service, may the critical spirit that has been fostered by this commercialized, Americanized, consumerisitic mindset that seems to permeate many churches, be replaced by a desire to accept His Grace, living in that Grace and extending that Grace to the critical spirit of your mind. Allow His Truth to reign in your life. Allow whatever is going on in front of you to be something that God ordained and has set into motion. Take God at His Word that He has everthing under His Power and the only reason that this thing is taking place is because it somehow is going to glorify Him and reveal His Name to someone. Don't miss the opportunities that that someone might be you.

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Small Town Girl said...

Whoa. Good stuff. It really has me thinking. I tend to be this way, & I even play in the Connection band. Instead of criticizing our church, I sit there & think how great we are, how awesome our band is, how amazing our pastors are. Pride is very dangerous, & this post really spoke to me. And sorry my kid called you Special Agent Oso at Upward when you were refereeing last weekend. Derry rubs off on him a lot.

Geoff Cocanower said...

I totally loved it!