Anyone who has completed a thorough read of the New Testament could very well conclude that the church of today is about as far away from what Jesus preached as Capitalism is from Communism!
Jim Rutz, the author of “Mega Shift”, puts it this way: “If Disney were to do a movie on the modern church [in North America], they could call it, Honey, I Shrunk the Gospel!”
Rutz aptly describes the weekly church service as “doing little for the Kingdom except sitting in a row on Sundays looking at the back of someone’s head and wondering if your team will win the afternoon game on TV. …They get a benediction and hardy handshake at the door…after which [they] are supposed to go home and improvise [their] own lifestyle of state-of-the-art centered sainthood. … Both layman and pastors are starting to figure out what is wrong in that routine; it is like having a hockey team listen to the coach’s pep talk for an hour, and calling that ‘a game’ ”.
Individuals prescribing to be good Christians may tout how they are “serving the Lord”. But the basic token of attending a church service is not service. Service involves the conscious act of reaching out to your fellow man. Webster defines service as work performed by one that serves, a contribution to the welfare of others.
Speaking of service, the Bible encourages us to meet together so that we can “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24) The phrase “good deeds” comes from the Hebrew word “mitzvot” which refers to actions taken to heal and repair the world. For the writer of Hebrews, the church is to gather so the body will spur one another on to live a particular way day in and day out.
So church gatherings are not meant to be the end in themselves; they are meant to be the beginning. The church is an organization that should exist for the benefit of non-members.
Indeed there are many Christians with sincere and deeply-held beliefs. On the other hand, a lot of people who attempt to come across as Christians may simply know all the right words and appear to make the right moves, but what they don’t have is sincerity and authenticity. In reality, their day-to-day actions don’t really do much to confirm their beliefs. A true Christian is easy to spot. They are the ones actually doing things Jesus spoke of — rather than just talking about it.
Wolfgang Simson, in his challenging book Houses That Changed The World, writes: “Jesus expects [Christians] to live a living faith, to live the truth He preached, or even we preach. And when Jesus was asked to explain more clearly what He meant, He said: “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Mt.25:35,36)
Bob Goff writes in his book Love Does, “God says to ordinary people like me and you that instead of closing our eyes and bowing our heads, sometimes He wants us to keep our eyes open for people in need, do something about it, and bow our whole lives to Him instead. … God wants us to get some skin in the game and to help make a tangible difference. He wants us to battle injustice, to look out for orphans and widows, to give sacrificially.”
Thankfully, in many places around the globe including China, Africa, India and Southeast Asia, the grandstand is beginning to empty as action-oriented Christians start to pour out onto the playing field and discover the giant challenge of every-member ministry. … God is redeploying large, passive audiences into small, power-filled teams where every person has an important function. … Instead of one pastor doing the heavy lifting while 100 laymen watch (and often criticize), you may now have 100 “team Christians” sharing the ministry or various people with pastoral gifts coach and equip from the sidelines. This mega-shift to empowerment is at the core of a new Christianity.
Furthermore, this concept of Christian “team players” is growing, so that “none but the cultist or culturally challenged diehard thinks that his is the only true church and font of all truth.”
Grant Montgomery – Grant’s Rants on Christianity