Self-Absorbed Churches

Several church planting specialists in America call the American church the Christian industrial complex similar in nature to the military industrial complex.  One such writer said that church as industrial complex unintentionally turns spirituality into product, church growth into a race, leadership into a business, and members into consumers.  I have met other church consultants who believe the American church has become the spiritual Walmart, making spiritual goods and services to religious consumers.  I wonder if the observations are true of the Indian churches.

The Bible clearly states what the church should be. The church is the ekklesia, the assembly of the called.  It is the community of faith and the family of God.  It is not supposed to be a club or an organization, but a living organism. It is to be a growing community of disciples who are growing spiritually and engaged in evangelism and disciple-making.

Now take a look at our churches.  Do we experience church growth? Do we practice evangelism?  What is the status of leadership in our congregations?  Are we church members or religious consumers? Have we become too self-centered and self-absorbed, with our leaders consumed with self-promotion and preservation of culture and tradition?

Researcher George Barna reminded us that we are not called to go to church but be the church.  How are we doing on being the church?

The church is in the world, but not of it.  We are to attempt to save some from the fire instead of watching the fire and taking comfort only in our safety.

Jesus did not commission us to go and hold services.  The challenge was and is to go and make disciples of all nations, not just our offspring.  Our evangelistic efforts should not be limited to our own kind.  God has planted us in a new places and situations in India and outside.  We cannot ignore our responsibility to reach out to the people around us in ways that are possible.

A sugar factory must produce sugar.  A shoe factory must produce shoes.  A church must produce disciples.  Every church must make disciples.  Every believer must become a disciple maker.  I am personally challenged by these truths.  I write with the hope that my readers will also feel the same way and seek the Lord to find ways to reach out to the local people of our own Jerusalem before we worry about distant places.  Jerusalem first, followed by Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost bounds of the earth. 


[Published in Suvartha, Mumbai]

 
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