In the late 70’s and early 80’s, the church of Jesus Christ seemed to take a scenic detour as it started to become the “come and see” era. The theory was that if there could be a good enough “show,” then more and more people would enter the doors of the church building (kirsche) and hear about Jesus Christ—about all that He has done for you and how you can start a personal relationship with Him.
Now, I want to make sure that you know that I am an evangelist and an itinerant speaker, so the “come and see” method is something that I have fully embraced. It often helps support my family as I speak at hundreds of venues per year. But, I have always believed that with whatever method you use to win someone, you generally keep that person with the same method as well. So, what the “come and see” method has produced is a lot of “entertained Christians” throughout the years.
"Entertained Christians” are the ones who are generally around the church building on Sunday mornings, but instead of going into a service, they hang out in fellowship halls, prayer rooms, or the lobby. They chat with their friends, acting spiritual, but talk the talk more than engage with the Creator of Heaven and Earth. People who serve in churches, especially those who pastor, and/or those who are on stage, are the ones who are most susceptible to this type of behavior.
Why? Because they think that due to their proximity to the church gathering, they are growing, learning, and being challenged, even though they have chosen to hang out with people who are close to Jesus. They are unwilling to get closer themselves. (I have been guilty of this in the past, too.)
I heard Francis Chan (a Christian preacher) once say, “The Israelites were completely comfortable hanging out with Moses, who came down the mountain after meeting with God, instead of going up the mountain themselves. They would rather take a selfie with Moses than go connect with God themselves.”
There is no greater relationship than the one that can be had with Jesus Christ—personally and intimately. But too many of us choose to settle by just hanging around people who are more “spiritual” than we are. We often hope that some of their spirituality will carry over into our lives...through osmosis, apparently.
For the past few months, I haven’t had a lot of margin in my life. I work a pastoral job, lead an evangelistic and speaking ministry, have a few friends and...oh, a wife and four kids to serve and lead. I am sure that no one else does this, but when I am too busy, I attempt to do everything in my own power instead of going back to the source of where my strength comes from: Jesus Christ, who is my Lord, leader, and king.
Over the past 13 years of being a follower of Jesus, I have fallen into this trap multiple times—you would think that I would have learned by now—where I would do everything okay. But “okay” is nothing compared to what could be if I were connected to the vine, Jesus, and being led by the Holy Spirit, who was the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. If that is, indeed, true and I believe it not just intellectually, but in the depth of my soul, wouldn’t I be a fool for not tapping into such a great resource?
I love that Jesus commanded His followers to make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20) who would be baptized, learn everything Jesus had commanded, and obey those teachings. He also promised that He would be with them—with us: you and me—always, until the end of the age. Jesus’ pyramid scheme was to make disciples (followers of His who looked and acted like Him) who would make more disciples, who would make more disciples…and the world would be won for and by Jesus Christ.
But instead of having a church (ekklesia, the movement of Jesus Christ through His people), we have settled for a church that attends a building (kirsche). Once a week, the church:
· sings love songs to Jesus
· stands up
· sits down
· listens to someone lecture about their own personal quiet time to hearers who probably won’t do much with what they have heard, let alone remember much of it
· stands up
· leaves and effectively hardens their hearts to the truth
The hardening of your heart happens when you hear the truth of God, and choose to not obey. Unfortunately, the “come and see” mentality of so many churches and organizations attempting to reach the world for Jesus Christ, in my opinion, is actually doing the opposite of replicating disciples of Jesus Christ. Instead, this mentality is creating entertained, uncommitted “Christian” posers, who look more like Pharisees and rich young rulers than disciples of the King.
My theory for a solution?
We need to stop expecting our pastors, evangelists, and teachers to do all the work for us, and just “audit" a service on Sunday morning. Rather than just hearing how God has worked in someone else’s life, we need to engage the Lord of Heaven and Earth ourselves—through time in our Bibles and in prayer—not just over meals or when someone is in trouble. We need to spend time telling God how good He is, thanking Him, and begging Him to grow us with any means or circumstances that He sees fit. We need to meditate on His promises and goodness in our lives. We need to serve the people around us by loving and telling them how amazing the relationship we have with God is, directing them towards how possible it is for them to also know and be known by God.
We need to grow up in our maturity as followers of Jesus—intentionally, rather than appearing like 50 year olds playing in the kiddie pool of theology and church.
Do you know what an immature Christian says? “That wasn’t my kind of worship.”
Well, no kidding, the worship wasn’t for you! Immature Christians make it all about them, and all about what they can get out of the church.
It’s time to grow up! We need to reproduce, and the last time I checked, babies cannot make babies.
This Sunday, when you sit in a service at a local church, would you listen to the message so that you can teach what you heard to someone else in your life that week? I guarantee that a few things will happen if you do so:
· You will listen differently
· You will retain more of what you have heard
· You will not effectively harden your heart like you would if you had just heard it and did nothing with it
Jesus wants us not to replicate a service with cool songs, slides, smoke machines, lasers and self-help sermons. But He wants us to replicate true followers of His, who will win a dying world that needs hope. Especially the hope that Jesus Christ gave to us through what He did for us—what we could not do for ourselves. He died for our sins so we didn’t have to, and He rose from the dead, validating that trusting Him is enough. When we hear that, it seems too good to be true. But for those of us who truly know Jesus, we are grateful that it is true, and it isn’t about us, but about Him!
For those of us who follow Jesus, we do not want to entertain christians, but equip and empower them to be disciple makers!
Today, would you get before the Father, and ask Him to show you who He wants you to invest in? I promise that your life will never be the same, and neither will theirs.
If you are interested in some easy ways to help grow in your own maturity in Christ, or help someone else do so, please check out our Discipleship page on different messages and questions that can be utilized: http://www.iamcompelled.org/discipleship/