This is a tough season for anybody. People are scared and full of anxiety. (There are also some that are completely ignoring the fact that the whole world is in crisis mode). People have lost jobs, the stock market continues to be unstable, Washington DC continues to play political games, and nobody knows for certain when life will get back to normal, or even a new form of normal.
Then there is the church. The Bride of Jesus. The hope of the world. For far too long, the church has been wrapped up into non gospel issues. Here in North America, she has lost her focus on what really matters. We have been focused so much on how we can attract the largest number of people on a Sunday Service and how we can have the most up to date building. Now all that has essentially disappeared. The church now needs to function as the church and make disciples who make disciples and not just occasional church attenders coming to get their “God” entertainment fix. Sadly, I see many churches that feel this is an opportunity to create the best television production to place online instead of leading people to worship and follow Jesus with their families at home. With this new normal, I have no qualms of streaming worship services. I actually believe churches must figure out how to stream their worship service during this time. I am talking about those that are more focused on a production than leading people into discipleship.
I watched an online training with Tim Keller today. He said something that has struck me all day and will not leave me anytime soon. He said we have to question everything we do as a church. We must break free from those things that hinder the mission of Jesus. This breaking free could and should include; the idol worship tradition and the past, the idol worship of a particular style of worship (traditional, liturgical, contemporary, or modern). All these are can be stumbling blocks when you worship the form and not the Creator. We must break free from these and place the gospel at the center of all we are as individuals and as churches. We must be open to only the bible. This is the way to make disciples. This is a huge opportunity for the church to rise up and place the gospel once again at the center of all we do.
As a church, we must repent and fall at the feet of Jesus Christ and commit ourselves to make disciples and not spectators to be entertained by our worship services. Is this a wake up call for the church? I do believe it is. We can either follow the example of the 1st Century Church that was bold in the gospel and made disciples (without buildings, and without lights and smoke machines, and without production). They did have their idols for sure, every generation has them. But the church of the 21st Century has fallen away form the seriousness and messiness of making disciples.
I truly believe that we are on the eve of one of the greatest renewals in human history. We can either go about as business as usual and continue to entertain people. Or we can make disciples who will have the boldness to stand for Jesus Christ in the middle of the strongest storms. I believe this is a wake up call for the church. My prayer is that we stay awake and see things we have never seen. To God be all glory!