Want To Hear My Best Worst Prediction?
Way back in 2007 when I was working on my first book, The Outward Focused Life: Becoming a Servant in a Serve-Me World, I attempted a “prophetic” stab at the American evangelical church and wrote:
“Here’s my Next Big Thing prediction: That churches in America will become less known for their styles, for their tribes, for their proselytizing methods, for their politics, for their clamoring over Christian “rights”, for the things they’re against…and more known for the way they serve. Servanthood will be the defining characteristic of people who are followers of Jesus. . . . I predict a slow evolution of churches being more characterized by servanthood than anything stylistically, politically or even theologically. It doesn’t mean those things are unimportant; it only means that the face of the western church must change in light of virtually no real persecution. One or the other must happen for survival.”
It seems I was dead wrong. The evangelical church in America has become terrifically politicized. I’m not here to make a case for either side of the aisle, but I can guarantee that when the perceived Church is absorbed into one political house in a deeply polarized culture, it loses its ability to win lost people in the house next door. The Danish theologian Kierkegaard decried the danger in his own country of an alliance between church and state. Historically, two issues arise with state-churches or pseudo-“Christian nations”:
the gospel becomes watered down in its expression and manifestation of the Kingdom of God;
the nation’s purposes (read: man’s purposes) get conflated with the plan of God for this planet.
The quest for power is intoxicatingly deceitful, even when we believe we are totally in-the-right.
Instead of seeking power, doesn’t it seem wiser to heed the words of Jesus who said, “He who would be the greatest must become the least.” And wouldn’t serving everyone—especially those who are far away from God, regardless of their politics—be perhaps one way to practice that? Again, we follow the one who said, “Even I, the son of man, didn’t come to be served, but to serve…and give my life as a ransom for many.” If that’s the case, shouldn’t the bulk of our discipling efforts be aimed at forming people into servants first before all else?
Question of the Day: On a scale of 1-to-10, how would you rate your church’s level of serving those who are outside the church in the name of Jesus?
Dave Workman | Elemental Churches
Did you know Elemental Churches offers one-on-one personal coaching for less than your cable bill? And seriously, which one is more important? Okay, that’s a rhetorical question!