McChurch. Franchised Jesus. Theological clones. Incubator congregations. Ecclesiological buffets. From the devil.
If there is a classification of church that gets put down more than megachurches, it would have to be multisite churches. Is the critique fair? Sometimes, but not always.
As we found with megachurches recently, there is plenty of good that comes with the stereotypical bad. In the megachurch research, we saw they don’t really draw away members from other local churches as much as people think they do, they are healthier financially and they are growing at a faster pace than smaller churches.
Remember some of the great bands of the 60’s and 70’s? Three Dog Night, Led Zepplin, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Rare Earth, and even the Monkees? What songs do you remember? Probably, songs they recorded during that specific period.
Then think about the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Elton John, or Dylan, and what do you remember? Chances are, you remember something much more recent. That’s because most of the great bands of the 60’s and 70’s got stuck. They couldn’t break out of the era of their initial success. Sure they continue to play, but while they used to pack any arena in America, today you’ll probably find them performing at State Fairs or Indian Casinos.
On the other hand, in spite of their age, the Stones, McCartney, Elton John, and a handful of others are still booking world tours in massive arenas, and have a new generation of fans. Why?
How overwhelmed Peter must have felt looking into the faces of 3,000 new converts in Jerusalem. I’m sure he must have thought: They’ve chosen to follow Christ, but will they follow me into the mature faith necessary to carry our church forward? As Christian leaders, we know it takes effective leadership to move people from their salvation decision into mature discipleship. We also know maturity empowers blessing in their lives and enables them to bless others.
Recently my friend told me a comical story about his son’s youth football game. The score was tied 6-6 in the second half. As the opposing quarterback faded back to pass, the boys rushed in and tackled him. They immediately started celebrating, but they failed to realize that the ball had been fumbled. The other team ran it in for a touchdown and won the game. My friend said with a smile, “Our boys made half a great play.”
As a pastor I get pretty excited when people choose to accept Christ. Then I’m reminded that we’re only halfway there. I still have the formidable task of maturing them so they can fulfill their potential.
People never get a second chance at a first impression. Neither do churches.
My family recently visited a church (no, it wasn’t your church), and we were able to get in and out undetected. Had it not been for our toddler’s need for childcare, we could have avoided human contact altogether. Needless to say, we didn’t feel very welcome.
Nearly everything about a Sunday morning worship service communicates something to first-time visitors. From the church bulletins to the parking lot layout, churches demonstrate how much—or how little—they care about people. Here are some things I learned from my last church visit.
The outcome of the 2012 presidential election reinforces the fact that what America needs the most is not a political movement driven by expediency and agendas of man but a prophetic movement driven by the impetus of the cross.
Accordingly, the outcome of the 2012 election speaks to a fragmented Bible-believing community where ethnic followers of Christ validated the donkey while white evangelicals supported the elephant. We need a new narrative that will bring both groups together.
To that respect, I am convinced more than ever that the only agenda that can save America and unite the body is not the agenda of the donkey or the elephant but the agenda of the Lamb.
The agenda of the Lamb is one of righteousness and justice. We need a multi-ethnic kingdom culture cross-driven movement that will reconcile Billy Graham's message with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s march. In other words, we need a movement committed to protecting life and alleviating poverty, defending marriage and doing justice in the name of Jesus. It can no longer be either or, it must be both-and.
In order to protect our Judeo-Christian value system, defend the image of God in every human being (in and out of the womb), secure religious freedom, reform the culture, transform our political discourse and usher in a new awakening, we must reconcile truth with love, conviction with compassion, sanctification with service and holiness with humility.
Finally, as many pro-life biblical worldview Christians fight off the effects of post-election stress disorder, let us not forget that God is still on the throne. At the end of the day, our objective is to convey to America one simple message; Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of mankind. Behold the Lamb!