Mostly Dead Churches

The church in ancient Sardis had a reputation for being alive. They were the happening church. But Jesus bluntly gave his own opinion: “You guys are dead!”
Today many churches have excellent reputations and enjoy the praise of men; maybe because of their large attendance or a plethora of ministries and programs or a huge budget or a beautiful, spacious building.
Lots of activity + lots of people + lots of $ = GREAT CHURCH. Right
?Seemingly alive but Jesus may give them two thumbs down! And don’t think I am picking on mega-churches or that I have any particular church in mind. Small churches can be just as prone to think they are pleasing to God when in fact they are not. ACC is in danger of this as well.
How does a church end up being “mostly dead”
?Maybe it has a lot to do with the tendency to mistake church-ianity with Christianity. Church-ianity develops a sort of country-club mentality, an “Us four – no more – close the door!” type of mindset. We like our church to be very comfortable for us. We like to know everybody’s name. And we end up losing sight of our true purpose. We forgot the mission we have been assigned.
In his book The Present Future, Reggie McNeal states, “The church was created to be the people of God to join him in his redemptive mission in the world. The church was never intended to exist for itself.”
That is why we must work hard at having an outward focus. I think it is the natural entropy of the church to quickly become inward focused. Unless evangelism / outreach are prioritized, they will soon lose their importance. When Jesus trained his ministry team it was all about hitting the streets and bringing the good news of the kingdom to the people. Jesus didn’t set up shop and proclaim, “You come to me!” Jesus intentionally, strategically went searching for his lost sheep.
Can we do any less? It’s been said that if we don’t evangelize, we cannibalize. In other words, if we allow an inward focus to dominate – it’s just a matter of time until we are bickering and fighting and arguing over petty issues.
As we move forward as a church, as we begin our Growing Together campaign this fall – to create room for more people at ACC, I am committed to us reaching our neighborhoods for Christ. I hope you are too!
P.S. This post was pretty much supposed to be a rant at the end of my sermon yesterday – but I ran out of time!??