This time last year as a church, we read the book and watched the film, “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman (ref.1). It was hugely challenging. The big idea of the series is to ask whether you attend church on Sunday, but have not yet fully realised what it is to completely follow Jesus in every aspect of your life.
Just recently I’ve been thinking about this series and think that for many in our culture, church has become just another demonstration of the consumeristic society that we live in. We don’t turn up for the start of worship. We expect the sermon to end on time, and sometime between lunch and our Sunday afternoon snooze on the couch we’ve forgotten what was preached!
Say the word, evangelism, to 10 people and you’re likely to get 10 different descriptions of what it looks like. On a recent trip to the US, there were 11 dedicated Christian TV channels available in my hotel. Most of the channels featured tele-evangelists who seemed to spend an unequal amount of time making urgent requests for financial support. The other stereotypical image that comes to mind is the man standing on the corner with the bullhorn.
Why is it that in the church, we speak of evangelism as something we do overseas, when it’s clear that America, Australia and UK need just as much evangelising to as any other nation?
In China, there are somewhere between 26-80 million Christians(ref.2). If it’s true that between 7 and 8.9 percent (ref.3) of the US population are evangelical Christians, then there are most likely already more Christians in China today.
As China, India, and other countries become increasingly Christian and middle-class, will they eventually become a consumeristic-style church too? As I read the stories of the early church, and the blood and sweat the followers were willing to shed for their faith, I see a huge disconnect with today’s image of the church in the West.
The idols of our culture are all around us. They’re in our homes keeping us from a deepening dependency on the Lord. It’s time we take stock of the distractions, declutter and de-consumerise our lives (I know that’s not a real word, but it starts with ‘d’), dedicating what remains to discipleship.
3: A Call To Resurgence, Mark Driscoll. P.13