I recently had the pleasure of a break away with my family. Whilst staying in a cottage, which was formally a chapel, I watched a DVD of a movie called Wanderlust. The premise of the movie is that a couple find themselves, unemployed, homeless and having to drive to Atlanta, so that they can stay with the husband’s brother until they get “back on their feet”.
However, on their long drive down, it gets late and they try to find a motel so that they can sleep before driving on the next day. They come across what appears to be a farm, but they later find it to be a commune, with pot-smoking and slightly crazy “hippies”. They are made so welcome and treated so kindly that when they eventually get to the brother’s house and spend time with his crazy family, the couple soon wanna go back to the commune!
I recently blogged about being “Zombie Christians” but is it also possible that we make our churches like the commune in the movie and make people feel so “elated” and “at home” that we fail to encourage them to actually “share the joy“?
Paul says in Acts 20:24
“My life’s worth nothing unless I use it for the work given to me by the Lord—the work of sharing the Good News of the wonderful grace of God!”
If we are so consumed with enjoying ourselves within our church buildings, and just waiting for people to “wander in“, then we will miss out on even more pleasure and fulfilment, than we would find if we were outside the confines of our church buildings and living alongside those who haven’t discovered the “good news of the wonderful grace of God”!
Don’t get me wrong, I am not comparing and I will never compare the grace of God with getting high on cannabis or peyote (there is no comparison!!) But if we find ourselves in a “community of believers” who truly encourage you to be the person you were created to be, who challenge your attitudes towards others (in a good way). Where you can play a part in the community, that is great! But, unless that community is then preparing you to share the good news about God’s grace with the world, then you are in a cult!
- Never demands our money (he wants us to want to give, cheerfully, what we can and feel able to give!)
- Will never expect you to do something that is unbiblical!
- loves you the way you are, the only thing that he may want you to change is your attitude to life and others!
- Doesn’t want you to stay in a building, but live alongside others like Jesus did!
- doesn’t have a hierarchy, all of us are priests and heirs with Jesus Christ, his son! (anything that resembles a hiearchy is man-made and in a sense “not of God“!)
It is lovely getting away from the busy-ness of life, we ended up in a mobile network “black-spot” which was surreal but actually quite nice. But staying so far away from reality, for too long, can never be good! One character in the film was so clueless, he was ranting on about technology in a way that made no sense and tried to sell the enormous plot of land where the commune was for £1100!
Churches should be more like training camps for soldiers or athletes, being places for rest and healing but then preparing us for the “races” or “battles” that we will face when we leave! Archbishop William Temple was quoted as saying-
“The Church is the only organisation where its sole purpose is for the benefit of its non-members”
If the majority of the Christian’s time is spent between their own homes and church, we are clearly missing something! Our primary focus should not be on getting people into our Churches, but on preparing those who are already in our Churches to go out and share the good news by being as Christlike as we can!