Tim Stevens posted part of an interview with Mark Beason today on his blog about how Jesus has become boring. Mark Beason, Senior Pastor of Granger Community Church, made a number of interesting points, but one thing really jumped out to me: People walk through our doors to see Jesus, not to go to church.
Wow! What a statement!! When I was in college I went with a group of friends on a trip to Chicago to visit Willow Creek and Moody Bible Institute. Although we didn’t see the latter (and I’m still bitter about that!), we did experience all that is Willow Creek. One thing that really impressed me was how friendly the church was. For a church of 18,000 people to be known as friendly is pretty incredible. It really comes back to the point of what do people see when they walk through our doors?
We know the components that make up our 21st Century, American idea of “Church”. We have worship, announcements, offering, maybe a special, and then we preach the word. But in all of that, what are people seeing? Are they seeing our impressive music program? Our creative ways to get people to put money in the plate? Our incredible communication skills? Or do they see Jesus? I have walked into too many churches hoping to see Jesus and rather I see “religion” or I sit back and enjoy a good “show”. The movement in the last few years to be purpose-driven as a church is such a healthy thing. But being simply ‘purpose-driven’ isn’t going to get us there. We need to be unwavering in keeping Jesus up front. Allowing everything we do to be seen through the screen of Christ. Whether we are setting up our greeting ministry or recruiting custodians, Christ needs to be forefront. As people walk into your building this Sunday morning, what will they see?
I think part of the problem is that many Christians don’t know what it means for Christ to be at the forefront. I know that reading through the Gospels can be challenging because I often catch Jesus saying and doing things I wouldn’t expect from the assumptions that I have of him.
Do you have thoughts on what a church like this would look like?
Yeah, Drew. I believe a church that keeps Christ in the forefront is one that loves people, yet holds them accountable. One that allows people to experience Christ in worship, yet is not so disconnected with the world around them that they can’t relate. One that challenges people to go beyond their comfort zones, not for their own glory, but for the glory of God!