I heard recently about an un-church service that was held not for Christians, but for positive thinkers.
Certain people in an American city wanted the opportunity to make new friends, have camaraderie, and hear a positive message. They didn't want anything to do with God, but they thought a lot could be said for the way Christians have church.
So they held an un-church service for themselves. They put a motivational speaker at the pulpit. If I remember the story correctly, they put their arms around each other's shoulders and they sang “Lean On Me.” Then they all left feeling happy about themselves.
I wonder if the American church has, in many cases, become an un-church just like that.
Oh yes, the sign out front still says something about God. The bulletins have pretty pictures that remind one of God. Hymns and folk tunes are still sung. Sometimes contemporary worship choruses are sung as well.
But is the Church today performing the holy purpose for which God created it? Or has it become an un-church?
Do we even know for what purpose Christ's Church was created?
The Church was created to govern: to rule and dominate as God's legislative body on earth.
See, when Jesus said to Peter in Matthew 16:18 “on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it,” the word “church” wasn't something Jesus made up. Jesus didn't coin that word.
No, the word “church” is the Greek word “ekklesia,” and it referred to something already in existence.
The Greek ekklesia was a governing body of the Greek people. When they got together, they existed to govern. They voted, they ruled, and they made the laws. Whatever they said went.
So Jesus was saying that upon the confession of Himself as Christ–the Anointed One–He would build His governing body. We call it the Church. Jesus called it the ekklesia.
Modern church; ekklesia. Same thing. Or is it?
Is the local church governing? Or are Christians trying to make friends and fit in?
- Do we care most about our popularity, our image, or our membership numbers than we care about healing the sick, raising the dead, and casting out demons?
- Do we prefer to offer doughnuts and cappuccino to our visitors so they will be comfortable? Or are we brave enough to preach the Word of God with power so that their flesh will uncomfortable, but their souls might be saved?
- Do we pray weak, powerless prayers because we have no faith in God's Word? Or are we willing to govern and decree in prayer, so that God's purposes will be carried out in every way?
God never intended His Church to be a place of mere positive thinking. It's true that Christians should be the most positive people on the planet; joy and peace are the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
But positive thinking is not the purpose of the Church.
God doesn't think in terms of social clubs. He thinks in terms of government.
Church is not about eating donuts together, having discussion groups, or making new friends. It's not about singing the songs that bring fond memories of yesteryear. The Church was made to govern.
And until we are governing, we may meet in a church, but we're not the Church that Jesus built.
So what should we govern and how should we govern? Stay tuned this week for the answers to those questions as I share the rest of this series about how to govern in the Spirit realm!
Image courtesy of Etrusia UK on Flickr via Creative Commons license.