A Culture of Cowardice (part seven)

Recently, I’ve invited you to consider to what degree a Culture of Cowardice has taken hold in the Church. My purpose is to invite you, Christian leader, pastor, denominational executive to a place of uneasiness, even painful discomfort.

Why?

Pain is necessary for change.

 

We’d prefer to believe that an appropriately reasonable explanation, cloaked in kindness, is all that’s needed for humans to embrace the adventure and uncertainty of the unknown. Since the Enlightenment, I suppose, societies have assumed that knowledge of what’s better will result in people making the reasoned choice to change.

But, do they?

More to the point, do you?

One condition that’s welcomed the stagnation common to the church experience of most is that we who are in ministry have forgotten what business we’re in. Now, I’m no historian, but my understanding is that the Protestant Reformation occurred in the sweep of the Enlightenment—the Age of Reason.

And we’ve been reasoning with our congregations ever since.

12 educationReasoning kindly and gently with them about the truths of the Bible. We’ve been teaching the Word—as if we’re in the education business.

The problem is, education is not an end. And, a religiously educated person is not an end either. No more than an elevator is an end. An elevator is a means to the 4th floor. Teaching the Bible is a means to an end.

The Church is supposed to be in the life-change business.

When someone approaches you with “nice message, Pastor”, what’s your reply? “Thank you”?

More often than not, when someone approaches me with a similar encouragement, my response is not “Thank you”, but “Why?”

I listen for how the person’s been impacted. Then I want to know: “So what?”

“How will you live differently?”

12 church in north americaYou see, if my teaching and preaching (and these blogs, for that matter) is not changing the way you live, I am wasting your time and mine.

If you’re not changing lives in identifiable, maturity-inducing ways aren’t you wasting your time and the time of those hear you?

Multiply this waste of time by the 90 or 390 people in your church, then multiply that by the months and years and decades that you’ve been educating people whose lives are not radically changing and what do you have??

The Church in North America.