Don’t forget to play the game

Sometimes I think I have the calling of being a “party pooper.”  Not sure that is one of the five-fold gifts or not, but it seems like that is where God has placed me, nonetheless.  I guess when you write a book called “The Church Must Die”, you are destined to step on a few toes.

The other night I went to a concert featuring a couple of well-known Christian music artists.  The show was good, and we had a great time.  I have to admit, the thought crossed my mind more than once, “what if we took all the money that we spent on this one night and used it to feed the poor, or dig wells to provide clean drinking water, or…?”

But the real problem I have – the problem I just can’t shake – is this:  What difference did it make?  Sure, several thousand people showed up, and we screamed when the artists told us the night was all about Jesus, and we raised our hands when they sang a “worshipful” song, but did it really change anything?

How many of those kids went home and unplugged their video games, turned off the TV, and committed themselves to prayer and Bible study?  How many of us decided to quit spending so much of our time and money on meaningless fluff?  How many of us committed to serving the poor and spreading the kingdom because of that concert?

It’s the same problem I have with our “worship services.” You know, the ones with the rocking band of good-looking people singing catchy pop songs.  The ones where we all raise our hands and look heavenward and praise God.  What really changes?

It’s like a team that has a great pep rally, then forgets to show up and play the game.  What’s the point?

You see, that concert or worship service is not the end…it’s the beginning.  That sermon you heard last Sunday is just the pre-game pep talk…not the game. Until we realize that, we will go on losing our generation to the world.  Until we realize we have to DO the work of the kingdom and not just chant “Jesus cheers,” the church will continue its slide into irrelevance.

At some point we have to stop cheering and play the game.

  1. #1 by Erica on December 7, 2010 - 9:12 AM

    I remember thinking similar thoughts when I lived in Croatia – right after their war for independence from Yugoslavia. Entire towns were not only bombed but literally flattened from war. It was one thing to see it on the news and quite another to see devestation in real life and live amongst the people it impacted. It gave an entirely different perspective. I recall thinking how the pocket change of most people in the US would go a long way to help those I lived amongst. It broke my heart to think of how lavishly the Christian community (myself included) lived in America in comparision while our brothers and sisters were struggling in day to day life – living in bombed-out shells of homes, families in very small apartments trying to survive, land mines injuring and killing loved ones, mental anguish from the unimaginable horrors of war witnessed by ordinary people (with no counselors available to help), many working full-time jobs without pay – hoping that one day there would be money to have a salary again. I remember thinking that we have been in our own little world for much too long and I remember feeling anger at my own Christian culture and shame. Many of these in need included our own brothers and sisters in Christ. I remember thinking about how lavish our churches can tend to be here and I recall thinking how if we spent less on our lavish buildings, offices, etc. – our brothers and sisters in need could be satisfied with “the basics”. I am as guilty as many others. Thank you for this important reminder.

  2. #2 by Lary Wayne on December 8, 2010 - 6:07 AM

    This is particularly disturbing to see on the rise in America….I too have an issue with “performance” worship and even “performance” churches. Its not what I signed up for. When we as a people get serious about seeking God out, and shutting the world out, when our radar is locked in on what He wants to do thru us, will we see the power of Christ in our lives. Get off that spiritual couch, potato!

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