I believe churches of Christ have reached a pivotal moment in history. We have some questions to answer, some choices to make, and we will inevitably need some strong men and women of God to help us through these perilous and exciting times.
People are Fed up with Denominations
I think it is so exciting to watch my generation move away from religious division, creeds, and denominationalism. We have preached “non-denominationalism” for decades. Now the general public is starting to consider themselves “non-denominational.” Although a person may attend a Baptist church, he very well may not consider himself a Baptist. Our long-held plea to be “Christians only” seems to be resonating through the land.
The problem is that our communities see “The Church of Christ” as a denomination. They identify the community churches as being non-denominational and us as being denominational! Something is dreadfully wrong with that! It is time for us to reintroduce ourselves to our communities and let them know we are non-denominational, un-denominational, and anti-denoninational. We have to let them know we are not “Church of Christ-ers” or “Campbellites,” we are Christians and Christians only!
But, in order to do that we have to come to grips with it ourselves. We have got to stop seeing ourselves as a denomination. We have got to stop seeing the description, “church of Christ” as a name or title. Anyone who has been baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of his/her sins (Acts 2:38) is a Christian and God has added him/her to the church of Christ (Acts 2:47). Meeting in a building labeled, “Church of Christ” does not make one a Christian or a member of Christ’s church. Only God can make someone a member of the church of Christ; and it is high time that we remember that!
I have recommended for a number of years that our meeting places should simply say, “Christians meet here.” Maybe then we could remember that we are not “CofC,” we are Christians! But whatever we do in the coming years, we are going to have to remind ourselves and our community that we are truly non-denominational.
People are Starving
Every study and statistic I have seen lately says that community churches and denominational churches are losing people right and left because they are not teaching and preaching the Bible. People are seeing the emotional and entertainment-driven churches for what they are…fluff! They have no substance; they are shallow to the core. People are starving for some intellectual and spiritual stimulation.
This news ought to cause us to jump for joy. After all, there was a time when people thought of us as “walking/talking Bibles.” Unfortunately, many who wear the name “Church of Christ,” are following the pattern of the shallow emotionally-driven churches. They are abandoning the meat of the word and replacing it with cotton candy and they too are starving their members.
On the other hand, there are many congregations preaching meaty sermons and conducting meaty Bible classes, but nobody knows about it! We have got to get back into the community and let people know where truth can be found. The church is the “pillar and the support of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). But, let’s also not forget that as teachers and preachers, we must help people make application to their lives. We have to show people what the Word says, what the Word means, and what difference the Word makes in their lives!
You can preach Truth without being dry and you can preach applicable sermons without starving people to death.
We Live in the Information Age
Recently, when young atheists were “asked to cite key influences in their conversion to atheism,” they didn’t talk about conferences they attended or books they had read; instead, they made “vague references to videos they had watched on YouTube or website forums.” I think that is incredibly interesting! The internet is helping convert people to atheism. Not because the atheists have the most compelling arguments (obviously they don’t), but because the atheists are harnessing the power of the internet to get their agenda out there.
Imagine if the church would use the power of the internet more effectively. I am so thankful for many of my Christian brothers and sisters in Christ who are blogging, making YouTube videos, and recording podcasts. But I am still amazed how many congregations don’t have a website. Or worse yet, they don’t update their website.
We are at a pivotal moment in history and there is a huge potential to reach the lost. The question is, will we choose to take advantage of our opportunity or will we squander it?
I love you and God loves you,