I’m a liar.
It’s OK thought (my inner monologue says comfortingly as I compare myself to other good religious people)… so are you.
We can’t help it. We love our lies. Our lies make and keep us comfortable. Our lies make and keep us lazy. Our lies allow us to look with distain out our stained glass windows at the “outsiders,” they allow us to be dismissive and judgmental towards the doubter, the struggler, the intellectual who legitimately questions things, the busy, the overwhelmed and so on.
The real problem, however, isn’t that we’re liars. The real problem is that we don’t know it. We’ve spoken and heard the lies so many times that, to us… they are the truth. We have, like the frightened ostrich, hidden our heads in the sand of our lies so that they are the only world that we know and can see anymore (by the by… that ostrich hiding its head in the sand thing… that’s a lie too).
To be honest, this post could go in just about any direction right now… we believe so many lies. The lies that I’m speaking of, however, are the ones that we believe in an established, “evangelical,” plateaued and/or dying church. (Big sigh of disappointment from the conspiracy lovers, the political buffs and the ET crowd… sorry… this probably isn’t the blog for you) Statistically speaking, that’s at least 80% of evangelical churches in North America… and I’m being super generous. Pretty sure the real number is a lot closer to 90%.
So… enough whining, on to the lies.
LIE #1 – “People don’t believe the Bible anymore.” – That’s a lie. Most people don’t “anything” the Bible. They don’t know what to do with it… so they do nothing with it (Christian or not). Here’s where you say, “Well… if they come to my church they’ll know what to do with the Bible.” Will they??? Really??? Maybe this is true in your church, but can I simply suggest that if your church was really rockin the Bible in terms of truth, application and transformation then it probably wouldn’t be in the state it’s in right now. People are hungrier for truth than you think [See LIE #3]
LIE #2 – “The mega-churches are stealing all the people.” – Harsh truth time (in love): There is a reason that people aren’t coming to your church and haven’t been for a while now. There is also a reason that people are going to the bigger church down the street. And here’s where someone says, “Yeah, people only go to those churches because they can hide and not serve there. They can walk in and out and no one would ever know.” Ummm… maybe some people need to hide. Maybe there are some people who shouldn’t be serving in the church (come to think of it… there are probably some people in your church who are serving now that really shouldn’t be). Mega-churches aren’t stealing all the people!
LIE #3 – “People’s hearts are too hardened to the Gospel in this area.” – Allow me to translate this one, “We don’t know our culture well enough to reach people with the Gospel so we’ve decided to blame it on them for being stubborn.” I will arm wrestle your face off of your head if you say this out-loud to me. You sound like the Israelites standing outside of the promised land… “Oh no God, I know that you just defeated and destroyed the biggest military super power of our time [ie. the Egyptians] like 3 weeks ago… but those guys were short and the guys on the other side of that river are really tall. Their like 6’6″ and I don’t think you can handle 6’6″ God… 5’9′ is more Your speed.” God has never encountered a heart so hard that, by His will, He could not blast through it with the Gospel.
LIE #4 – “Church Is For The Believer And We Don’t Cater To The Seekers.” – This one has a partial truth in it, probably… you’re probably not thinking about or really all that concerned for the people who are seeking Jesus but not there yet. The lie here is that you think that you’re a legitimate, Biblical church. If you don’t cater in any way, shape or form to the people who are seeking Jesus on Jesus’ day… you’re not Jesus’ church! Instead, may I plead with you to change your name to something where “Church” isn’t in the title (and preferably “Baptist” too… we have enough working against us as it is). You are ruining the name of God and the establishment of people He created to increase His fame, Kingdom and Name.
LIE #5 – “Our Job Is To Stay Faithful Till Jesus Returns.” – Someone said this to me recently “The church is getting older, hearts are getting harder, we’ll probably be dead in 10-15 years. Until then our job is to stay faithful to the Word.”
DO YOU KNOW THE WORD OF GOD???
DO YOU KNOW WHAT FAITHFUL MEANS???
DO YOU KNOW WHERE THE NEAREST DRY CLEANER IS FOR WHEN MY HEAD EXPLODES ALL OVER YOUR PRETTY SUIT AND TIE COMBO???
[Head exploded before I was able to go on. Probably good with the way my mouth tends to get me in trouble. Give me a few days and I’ll have it glued back together and we can go at it again]
There are some exceptions… but if statistics are to be trusted, you and I probably aren’t one of them right now. That can change today, “as long as it is called today.“