Here is a thought that should shake you up a bit.
IF Church is only a business, business is good.
We Americans live in a day and age with an abundance of Christian resources available…more variations of Christian music, more Christian books, more versions of the Bible, and more tools to examine Scripture than any other time in history. Not just the ideal time, but the ideal geographic location. In North America, we have more resources available and the disposable income to get them.
If information about Christianity is our goal, we live in the best time and place to get it.
The business of church is good! We are selling more books than before, pumping out more music than ever before, and now with Christian higher education online we are educating more and more of those who wouldn’t have been able to get a Christian degree before.
The problem is Church isn’t a business at its core – it’s a social and spiritual transformation movement. It goes beyond this though. There is a dangerous lie Western Christians accidentally propagate. Our gimmicky Christian industry is constantly implying that a new or better faith will be found if you give them your money. Nope, the poorest of the poor have the SAME access relationally to Jesus as the wealthiest theologian with a vast library. Here is the truth – only a relationship with Jesus satisfies. I don’t have a problem with people paying for good work and more information about Jesus is good, but only a relationship with him can satisfy our deepest longings and all have access to this.
We must stop making God a commodity used for acquiring wealth. It’s confusing and paints a poor picture of God.
The church is about Jesus and people, not products! We can simultaneously sell lots of Christian stuff and yet lose social influence in a community. Somehow we forget that the purpose of that which we produce is supposed to be for the people, not the other way around. People want to be given love and hope, not sold a product. The church has lost social influence in the West by almost all statistics. I believe the church will continue to lose influence unless it visibly does three things.
- We must get back to our roots. When the church in Acts was formed, it wasn’t about making money; it was about being the hands and feet of Jesus and proclaiming his message to the world. It must be our mission to take care of the poor, orphans, widows, and demonstrate love to our communities, all while unapologetically proclaiming Jesus as the reason. More and more of our resources should go to this!
- We must stop looking at our own numbers and instead focus on cultural statistics. I get it. I am leading a growing church! It’s easy to get excited about the numerical growth in our churches all while the number of Christians in our communities is going down. We need to count the right stats! We shouldn’t just focus on what is happening inside our doors, we need to pay attention to what’s happening around us, too. People need to see us caring about the community.
- Last and most important. A Christians deepest hope and greatest strength must be found in Jesus and our culture needs to see and hear it.
This is why I love our church! They have an outstanding perspective.