Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Organic or Steroids – What does your church sell?

December 12, 2008

Usher: Hey Deak, brilliant post here – couldn’t help but tout it! Since we had such a good conversation because of it:

http://kingdomgrace.wordpress.com/2008/12/03/disciples-or-converts/

and Mark’s post shows it affected him with a slight twist (of lemon) hehe

http://mark-bymaswell.blogspot.com/2008/12/would-you-like-some-cracked-pepper-sir.html

Conversation that ensued after reading these:

Usher: Hey Deak, I’m not sure I take issue or not regarding the comment on “birds and imprinting”, but no bother.  I just wanted to bring out the point of how foreign “organic” mindsets are in today’s human western culture.  Is it any wonder that the church is so much a reflection of the supermarket?

 

Deacon: Go on, I’m listening.

 

Usher: There’s no place for “ugly carrots” in the produce section of today’s markets.  God forbid an ugly apple, pear, banana, mango, off color head of broccoli or anything else for that matter.  The first inclination to choose is that which is pretty and uniform and without blemish.  Taste, longevity and danger are all secondary.

 

Deacon: What brought all this on?

 

Usher: Most likely TV and the press I guess.  Ugly people don’t make it onto TV so the world strives to be thin and pretty and perfect, just like the stars and their air-brushed magazine covers.

 

Deacon: Your point?

 

Usher:  Churches have followed suit.  They’re full of “gifted” orators, professional musicians, accomplished businessmen on the committees and so on.  Entertainment and accommodation are the criteria the humans migrate to.  In the meantime, the “leaders” have to have ways to measure.  They migrate to numbers.  Numbers can be substantiated and boasted about.  The laypeople want pretty programs, shows and great music along with gifted sermonettes.  The pastors want accolades, money to add staff to share in the work and build job security as well as grow their careers.

 

Deacon: So where is discipleship in all that?

 

Usher: My  point exactly! 

 

Deacon: Can discipleship function in today’s church in the midst of all the other stuff?

 

Usher: Not if leaders are bent on measuring their success.  This is where the problem starts.  If you take away the programs (you lose the crowds).  Take away the great orators (you lose the crowds).  Take away the money (you lose the crowds and the buildings).  Take away the professional musicians (you lose the crowds).  Take away the money (you lose the career-oriented staff) and voila!  Now you haven’t the distractions, nor the expectations, nor the crowds. 

 

Deacon: So you’re saying that crowds = success?

 

Usher That’s kind of what it all boils down to.  Ask the televangelists.  Crowds equal numbers, numbers equals money, money equals success and thus, God must be in it.

 

Deacon: So if there are no crowds, then there is no money, how does the church grow?

 

Usher: Christ had only 12 disciples.  He didn’t say things to the crowds to attract them or their money, in fact the largest crowds he attracted, he fed.  And then he said tough things to the crowds and the crowds left and he went about his discipling.  Scriptures say he wasn’t a “special” or “beautiful” person.  Maybe this was because he knew if he came to earth a beautiful being, then we would all feel insecure because we are all imperfect when we compare ourselves to “beautiful” people.  (Even beautiful people have proven this is true.) He discipled imperfect people and the church survived all these years without “perfect” people.

 

Deacon: So this is why the church seems to be portraying itself to be the “perfect” or “blessed” one?

 

Usher: A discipler works with the ground that he’s on, with the people God gives him.  He sees everyone a precious gift from God.  He is challenged to bring out God in these people no matter their lot in life.  Every member has a place in God’s kingdom, but not in man’s.  Today’s church seems to “market to the people who want to be like us” creating sects and divisions and exclusivity.  Thus the 35,000 denominations.  In an environment like this, everyone strives to become like the leader, the perfect carrot if you will.  Except they don’t know he is just like them if you take away the steroids, the pesticides, the pretty packaging and the artificial coloring.  In essence, the church normalizes and cripples the body and discipleship empowers the body.  If pastors didn’t care about credit and measurement and they truly wanted the kingdom to prevail, they’d do all within their ability to empower the kingdom.  This would eliminate the focus of one pastor to many and bring on the every man a minister.  The church would then become the all-powerful organic vehicle it was in the first century.  A true discipler as mentioned in comments above operates under the radar.  They seek no glory.  They thrive on seeing the kingdom multiply itself.  They rarely take titles, they urge their disciples to follow in their footsteps and become disciplers. They are often unrecognizable in a crowd.

Branding “Jesus”

September 17, 2008

Usher: Hey Deak, now that the modern church has resorted to marketing to attract members, there are no stops. 

Deacon: How’s that Usher?  What do you mean by stops?

Usher: No constraints.  They can make Jesus into anything they want to attract members.  It’s just like TV.  Jesus is black for the black churches, Michelangelo-like for the pretty churches, hell-preaching for the revival churches, kinder and gentler for the milk-toast churhces, vegan for the vegans and a meat-eater for the weber grillers.  He’s whatever the pastor thinks he is in his mind at the present time.  As long as it doesn’t rock the boat and send the people running for the exits, everything is fine.

Deacon: What if Jesus came down in the middle of the service and appeared to be middle eastern?  How would we react to that?

Usher: Forget about what race he might resemble, what if he told the entire church to get up off their butts and get on with making disciples or suffer the consequences!

Deacon: The modern church would be full the next week.  Because they’d just chalk it up to a miracle and the pastor of that church would be in the news and the pews would be overflowing.

The Brand of “Jesus”

September 12, 2008

Usher: Hey Deak, don’t you pity the poor souls who buy into the rhetoric of the mainstream church? Especially the young ones who call themselves “church planters” who work for big old institutions.

Deacon: Kinda. But not really.  They’re too young to know any better and they don’t seem to want to do the due diligence it takes to find out that the organization they’re in is simply marketing the institution, not making disciples. 

Usher: It really is just like America and the whole American Dream.  It’s just that they’re using the brand of “Jesus” instead of Coca Cola or Pepsi or Marlboro.

Deacon: And interestingly enough, they see no wrong in it.  They seem to think that “marketing” is making disciples.  But in reality, it’s so different. 

Usher: They’re no better than “Carney Barkers” selling tickets to see the 2-headed, 5-arm lady.  Except in this case, the 2-headed lady is Benny Hinn, Richard Roberts, Kenny Copeland, Rick Warren…

Deacon: Usher, stop. You’re overdoing it man!  You gotta stop blasting the televangelists!  They need to eat their caviar, take their vacations and put fuel in their private jets too!

Short Term Missions (the real truth)

July 19, 2008

Usher: Look down there in the parking lot – the kids are getting back from the mission trip

Deacon: I see, I see

Usher: What do they do those trips for?

Deacon: Lots of reasons Usher, but for the most part, to tell and show the world how great we Americans are at christianity

Usher: Expound

Deacon: Well, the majority simply come back feeling good about what “they” did.  Where in the story is the community they visited and what happens when they leave?  Does this community ever hear from anyone again?

Usher: And at about $1,000 per person to travel, wouldn’t the money go a lot further if they simply gave it to the orphanages and the communities and the hospitals?

Deacon: Yep, I know for fact that all the orphanages in say Guatemala work on very tight budgets (typically funded by Americans on fixed budgets) and they typically run out of money 1/2 to 3/4 of the year and have to go begging (because so many new kids show up during the year driving the budget into the red). 

Usher: Do the churches that send these kids have any clue? 

Deacon: Yep, but they keep doing it anyway.  No adventure in sending money and no romance either.  In addition, they think so much of themselves that their misconception is that the benefit is really from them going to “help the kids”.

Usher: I know what you mean. I took a bunch of kids to an orphanage once and they couldn’t interact or relate to the fact that the kids were fine and really didn’t need their help.  In essence, the kids we took learned more about their own shortcomings than they did about missions.

Deacon: So you’re saying that they got to see that Jesus doesn’t need them to fix the world?

Usher: Quite the contrary notion huh?  Seems that the only commodity the church in America seems to have is disposable income and kids who don’t understand their own neediness.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.