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Notes on looking for a Biblical Church part 4

07/23/2017

Notes on looking for a Biblical Church part 4
To start this series, go here.
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  1. Image management is not a line item in the budget (“branding”) nor is one visually aware of it when coming into church. Sometimes called “conspicuous consumption”.

This is such a trap that most churches fall into, especially those with large budgets.  Leadership knows that most people are consumers, whose taste buds have been molded and shaped by the world, and as such, need to be provided the latest of whatever is “in” at the time, whether architecture, sound system, audio/visual, or book/small group Bible (or should I say “video”) study (usually not on the Bible), even fancy furnishings, especially the stage presence.   People like to feel coddled and the church that does the most coddling will get the most attendees.  They can argue and protest that this is to preach the Gospel to those who attend, but in my experience, that just isn’t happening, nor have the holograms that we project on Sunday morning furthered the Kingdom of God one inch.

Can you imagine how many Bibles could be distributed in your neighborhood and around the world (to those who, mentioned above, don’t have a Bible) just on the money spent on coffee and donuts both by the church and by those who attend, bringing their Starbucks cups into worship time?  Trending in churches right now seems to be feeding the homeless.  How many homeless could be fed by trimming the budget of things that have no eternal significance, and  reaching out with the Gospel to these down-and-out folks?  Just what does it cost to have the consumer-expected, image-managed full-color bulletin and where could that money and time be better used sharing the Gospel with those in need?

These are just a few examples but are a symptom of larger issues of intent.  And it stems from why a church exists in the first place.  If it’s to “go into all the world and preach the Gospel”, then all the success in filling buildings and calendars, where has that gotten us?  I don’t see a lot of “going”; I see a lot of encouragement to come to our church, our show, our programs.

It would seem from the world’s standard that bigger is better and most effective, but the church has gotten sidetracked on sprucing up the lighthouse with the latest furnishings, curtains, paint and sound equipment and forgotten what lighthouses are for.  Sailors on a ship in distress don’t care what shape the light house is in, just that the light is as strong and clear and focused as can be, pointed out to sea, showing the lost how to find the harbor and warning of rocks and shoals that will destroy.  All they are concerned about is the light, not the building that holds it up.  If the light is strong, then the harbor will be filled with those who made it in safely.  Culture in a wreck?  Then who is to blame?

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